Terrorist groups have manipulated fear through the utilization of violence to achieve their goals. There exist high levels of terrorist violence that persist in Pakistan. In 2011, U.S special forces killed Osama Bin Laden the al Qaeda leader in Pakistan. Intelligence officials alleged that Osama Bin Laden was associated with many lethal acts of terrorism in Pakistan and all over the world. The demise of Osama Bin Laden at the hands of the U.S special forces in Pakistan marked an essential milestone in the decade after a long struggle against the al-Qaeda. The death of Bin Laden has long term and short term implications on the growth and support for terrorist groups in Pakistan.
The direction and pace of terrorism in Pakistan has changed since the death of Bin Laden. This is because the death of Osama brought about a psychological blow to the terrorist groups. The international counter-terrorism has forced the terrorist groups to shift both tactics and location (Spindlove and Simonsen, 2017). Due to the intense pressure in Pakistan, terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda have decided to devolve their operations as well as command responsibilities to the growing number of franchises and affiliates. Bin Laden was known for sponsoring terrorist groups and facilitating terrorist attacks. Considerably, eliminating the terrorist leader was an effective strategy since they are of great value to the groups. This sends a deep signal to the terrorist groups since its ability to function has been impacted.
The death of Bina Laden has severe effects on the operations of terrorist groups since they heavily relied on the financial largesse and charismatic influence of Bin Laden. The replacement of Bin Laden may not offer the same levels of direction and support to the terrorist groups. The strategic weaknesses, unattainable political goals and lack of adequate support has led to irrelevance and steady decline of terrorist groups in Pakistan.
The terrorist groups have continued to emerge due to the existence of jihadism which continues to evolve over the years. The growth of jihadi groups is exponential with the surviving leaders from the previous generation acting as a catalyst for the forthcoming generations. For instance, the death of Bin Laden led to the decline of al-Qaeda and the rise of ISIS. ISIS an Islamic terrorist group in Pakistan with the most significant beneficiary since they were able to carry out their operations. Arenas of operation at ISIS have increased due to the weakened power and influence of al-Qaeda. The revolutionized mobilization of ISI is likely to endure over the coming years. The extremist organization has gained more support and sympathy in the west, thus creating a lasting legacy resulting in a future threat.
The elimination of terrorist leaders neither affects the organizations nor the rate of terrorist attacks. Bin Laden’s death has fragmented terrorist groups but on the other hand, offering them an opportunity to remake themselves (Alexander & Scott, 2011). The death of Osama Bin Laden has led to provoked anger and further terrorist attacks by small and large terrorist groups that received support from Bin Laden. The Jihadists vowed to revenge for the death of Bin Laden (Gollwitzer et al., 2014). Many local jihadists terrorist attacks have continued to occur. Pakistan has experienced significant terrorist attacks from major terrorist groups such as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and ISIS over the last few years.
In conclusion, the death of Bin Laden has short term and long term impacts on the growth as well as support of terrorist groups in Pakistan. Bin Laden offered great support to terrorist groups which focused on accomplishing their jihadi goals. The death of Bina laden impacted the operations of terrorist groups. However, the terrorist groups have utilized this chance to rebuild themselves with many terrorist groups focusing on revenge for Bin Laden and achieving their Jihadi goals.
Alexander, G & Scott, H. (2011). Springtime for Jihadis: How Will Terrorism Evolve After Bin Laden? Available at: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/pakistan/2011-05-06/springtime-jihadis
Gollwitzer, M., Skitka, L. J., Wisneski, D., Sjöström, A., Liberman, P., Nazir, S. J., & Bushman, B. J. (2014). Vicarious revenge and the death of Osama bin Laden. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 40(5), 604-616.
Spindlove, J. R., & Simonsen, C. E. (2017). Terrorism today: The past, the players, the future. Pearson.