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Day 55 – Q 1.Explain the evolving nexus between organised crime and terrorism. How does the symbiosis work? Illustrate.

1. Explain the evolving nexus between organised crime and terrorism. How does the symbiosis work? Illustrate. 

संगठित अपराध और आतंकवाद के बीच विकसित होने वाले सांठ-गांठ की व्याख्या कीजिए। उनके बीच का यह सहजीवन कैसे काम करता है? उदाहरण देकर स्पष्ट करें।

Introduction :

Organised crime (OC) is serious crime planned, coordinated and conducted by people working together on a continuing basis. Their motivation is often, but not always, financial gain. Terrorism is defined as the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims. Earlier, the problems of organized crime and terrorism were considered as separate phenomena but after horrified incident of September 11th attacks, researchers have started linking these two as terrorized occurrences.


Evolving nexus between OC and Terrorism:

OC and Terrorism have been aiding each other with the tactics and methods to achieve their goals. Sometimes they get transformed from the one to the other, like OC to Terrorist organization and vice-versa. The evolving nexus can be observed in the case of Drug trafficking and terrorism, Illegal firearms trafficking, Cybercrimes and terrorism, money laundering, fake currency, human trafficking etc. Below given is a case study that explains the evolving nexus in Drug trafficking and Terrorism.

A case study of global nexus: Drug Trafficking and Terrorism

  • Afghanistan survey report of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) estimates indicate that in 2017, opium poppy cultivation increased sharply to an unprecedented record high of 3,28,000 hectares from an estimated 2,01,000 hectares in 2016.
  • It is also evident from the report that the markets in Europe and the US, which are the most important consumption source for high quality drugs, have also become the indirect facilitators of terrorism.
  • The profits that drug sales help generate for criminal and terrorist groups, allow organisations like the Taliban to emerge as amongst the best funded and richest terror groups in the world.
  • UNODC report indicates that, Drug trafficking groups in Europe are frequently also involved in the counterfeiting of goods, trafficking in human beings, smuggling of migrants and trafficking in weapons.
  • This reinforces the trend of mutual benefit between criminal groups in Europe and the Taliban.

Symbiosis between OC and Terrorism:

This can be better understood with the help of examples:

  • Africa: Groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab have taken advantage of regional dynamics, weak state structures and widespread corruption to engage in criminal activities such as Kidnapping for ransom, drug trafficking, and exploitation, to parlay their activities into political influence and military and financial power, even at the expense of moving away from their ideological aims.
  • Afghanistan and Pakistan region: A combination of corruption, porous borders and weak rule of law, has created an environment in which criminals and terrorists can engage in KFR, drug trafficking and extortion to finance their organisations and networks, allowing each to engage in specific nodes within illicit supply chains. Groups such as the Taliban and Haqqani network have been known to cooperate in order to achieve mutual objectives.
  • Turkey: PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) has been known to toe the line between terrorism and organised crime, engaging in a number of illegal economic operations such as humans, drugs and cigarettes smuggling and other forms of organised crime, including extortion and money laundering, among its profit generating activities.
  • Europe: The decline in traditional organised criminal use of terrorist tactics is being replaced with a growing trend of individual small-time criminals carrying out terrorist attacks.

Organised crime and terrorism in India:

  • In the Northeast, extortion is the fundamental basis for funding all forms of terrorism. In addition to this, kidnapping has been used extensively for spreading terror and raising funds. Human trafficking, drug trafficking and gun running are some of the other criminal activities that have been common in these areas.
  • In J&K, counterfeit currency has been a major source of funding terrorism.
  • Terrorism in Punjab has been aided by the drug trafficking. 
  • In the Maoist terror movements, extortion is yet again a common phenomenon. They have also indulged in illegal firearms trafficking to fund their movement. There have also been reports of cuts being enforced on drug yielding crops in the region.
  • There are also a number of insurgent groups which over a period of time have morphed into crime syndicates.
  • What began as an ideological movement is now merely a means of generating profit This is especially the case with insurgent groups in Northeast India.


The evolving relationship between terrorism and crime poses significant challenges to the international community. There is a need to develop effective and tailor-made responses to the organised crime and terrorism, which address the underlying causes of the convergence at all levels, based on strong evidence, engagement with local actors, good governance, enhanced services delivery and capacity building and the incorporation of normative frameworks.

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