EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    This paper explores the rising menace of Islamic extremism in South Asia while discussing key terrorist groups and networks and emerging terrorism trends.

    The Taliban resurgence in Pakistan’s lawless provinces and its unhindered march towards the heartland of the restive country is fueled by an ever increasing economic life-line. Unlike Afghanistan’s Taliban, which depends on the poppy trade for revenues, the robustness of the Pakistan Taliban’s financial strength depends on a variety of sources, ranging from the timber trade, precious stone mining and now, the imposition of a religious/protection tax collected from minority religious communities.

    Since the events of 9/11, transnational Islamic forces have consolidated more along religious lines with regional and local Islamic outfits to further the extremist cause worldwide. South Asia has been confronting the challenge of Islamic extremism for many years and in varied forms. Among the South Asian countries worst hit by Islamic extremism, India, with a Muslim minority population numbering over 140 million, has cradled a number of important transnational Islamic movements throughout history.