Annual Country Report on Terrorism: More Americans Joining Terror Groups

One of my colleagues at RFE/RL produced a great audio story on the Country Reports on Terrorism, which documents global terrorist attacks and activities from the past year. The study shows a significant increase in the number of U.S. citizens who have been recruited as operatives for foreign terrorist groups. However, worldwide terrorist attacks have fallen to their lowest levels in five years.

Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan-born permanent resident of the United States who was trained by Al-Qaeda in Pakistan's Waziristan region

“The assumption that Americans have some special immunity to Al-Qaeda’s ideology was dispelled,” said Daniel Benjamin, coordinator of the State Department’s Office forCounterterrorism.

Coinciding with the report, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced charges against 14 suspected terrorists for aiding a Somalia-based terrorist group linked to Al-Qaeda. Many are U.S. citizens.

“These indictments and arrests in Minnesota, Alabama, and California shed further light on a deadly pipeline that routed funding and fighters to Al-Shabab from across the United States,” he said.

A leading factor in the increase of “home-grown” terrorists is the rise in prominence of Americans who are proponents of extremism.

Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda’s core, located in Pakistan, has been gaining momentum in recent months. The report targeted Iran as being a leading financer of terrorist groups like Hamas and Hizballah along with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

To read the full report, visit the State Department.


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