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In 2019, the United States and our partners made major strides to defeat and degrade international terrorist organizations.  Along with the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, in March, the United States completed the destruction of the so-called “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.  In October, the United States launched a military operation that resulted in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed “caliph” of ISIS.  As part of the maximum pressure campaign against the Iranian regime – the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism – the United States and our partners imposed new sanctions on Tehran and its proxies.  In April, the United States designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including its Qods Force, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) – the first time such a designation has been applied to part of another government.  And throughout the year, a number of countries in Western Europe and South America joined the United States in designating Iran-backed Hizballah as a terrorist group in its entirety.

Despite these successes, dangerous terrorist threats persisted around the world.  Even as ISIS lost its leader and territory, the group adapted to continue the fight from its affiliates across the globe and by inspiring followers to commit attacks.  In Africa, ISIS formally recognized a number of new branches and networks in 2019, and ISIS-affiliated groups were active across the continent, including in the Sahel, the Lake Chad region, and East Africa.  In South and Southeast Asia, ISIS affiliates carried out attacks and inspired others to do so as well. The ISIS-inspired attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday killed more than 250 innocent victims, including five U.S. citizens, representing one of ISIS’s deadliest attacks ever.

The Iranian regime and its proxies continued to plot and commit terrorist attacks on a global scale.  In the past, Tehran has spent as much as $700 million per year to support terrorist groups, including Hizballah and Hamas, though its ability to provide financial support in 2019 was constrained by crippling U.S. sanctions.  The regime was directly involved in plotting terrorism through its IRGC and Ministry of Intelligence and Security, including plots in recent years in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.  Tehran also continued to permit an al-Qa’ida (AQ) facilitation network to operate in Iran, sending money and fighters to conflict zones in Afghanistan and Syria, and it still allowed AQ members to reside in the country.  Finally, the Iranian regime continued to foment violence, both directly and through proxies, in Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.

In 2019, the United States and its partners pursued AQ around the world.  The organization faced a significant setback with the elimination of Hamza bin Laden, Usama bin Laden’s son and a rising AQ leader.  Yet the group and its associated forces remained resilient and continued to pose a threat in Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere.  Al Shabaab in the Horn of Africa, Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin in the Sahel, and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham/Al-Nusrah Front in Syria are among the world’s most active and dangerous terrorist groups.  In December, a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, where he was receiving training, killing three people and wounding eight.  Before the shooting, the gunman had coordinated with al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which claimed credit for the attack.  Today, AQ’s network continues to exploit under-governed spaces, conflict zones, and global security gaps to recruit, fundraise, and plot attacks.

The threat posed by racially or ethnically motivated terrorism (REMT), particularly white supremacist terrorism, remained a serious challenge for the global community.  Continuing a trend that began in 2015, there were numerous deadly REMT attacks around the world in 2019, including in Christchurch, New Zealand; Halle, Germany; and El Paso, Texas.

Amid this diverse and dynamic threat landscape, the United States continued its longstanding role as the world’s counterterrorism leader, taking decisive action to combat these threats and rallying its allies and partners to contribute to the fight.

In September, President Trump issued Executive Order 13886, enabling the Departments of State and the Treasury to more effectively sanction the leaders of terrorist organizations and those who participate in terrorist training.  This was the most significant update of the federal government’s terrorist designation authorities since the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.  In May, the United States led a successful campaign at the UN Security Council’s 1267 Sanctions Committee to designate ISIS-Khorasan, the first ISIS affiliate ever listed at the UN.

In another historic action, the U.S. Department of State designated Iran’s IRGC as an FTO in April 2019.  This unprecedented step reflected the Iranian regime’s unique place among the governments of the world in its use of terrorism as a central tool of its statecraft.  In response to a wave of Iranian terrorist plots in Europe in 2018, the United States launched the Countering Transnational Terrorism Forum (CTTF) in 2019.  The CTTF brought together law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and financial practitioners from more than 25 countries to disrupt Iranian terrorist activities and networks.

The United States also continued to spearhead high-level diplomatic engagement on Hizballah — an Iran-backed terrorist group that is based in Lebanon but that has a truly global reach.  Throughout the year, the United States ratcheted up efforts to degrade and disrupt Hizballah’s finances, with numerous designations of financial entities, facilitators, and money launderers tied to the group.  In July, the United States and Argentina co-hosted the second Western Hemisphere Counterterrorism Ministerial, which commemorated the 25th anniversary of Hizballah’s attack on a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires.  This engagement yielded concrete results.  In 2019, Argentina, Kosovo, Paraguay, and the United Kingdom all joined the United States in designating the entirety of Hizballah as a terrorist organization, rejecting the false distinction between its “military wing” and a purportedly “political wing.”

Another major line of effort for 2019 was the repatriation, prosecution, and rehabilitation of ISIS fighters and family members to prevent them from ever returning to the battlefield.  Since 2011, more than 40,000 foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) from nearly a hundred countries swarmed into Syria and Iraq, and about 2,000 of these FTFs were captured and detained by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).  The United States has led by example, bringing back our citizens and prosecuting them where appropriate.  As of December 2019, the United States repatriated a total of 23 U.S. citizens from Syria and Iraq – eight adults and 15 children – and the Department of Justice charged six of the adults with a variety of terrorism-related crimes. Those numbers include 15 U.S. citizens repatriated in 2019 (five adults and 10 children; three of the adults have been charged by the Justice Department).

The United States continued to call on other countries to follow our example and repatriate their own citizens, and we assisted a number of partners in doing so.  The State Department deployed technical experts to Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, the Maldives, North Macedonia, and Trinidad and Tobago to help develop effective protocols and programs for the rehabilitation and reintegration of FTF family members.  Working closely with the Departments of Justice and Defense, the State Department also mobilized the international community to more effectively use battlefield evidence in criminal investigations and prosecutions, including training partner countries on how to collect, store, and transfer battlefield evidence.  This has enabled the United States to more readily share battlefield evidence with our foreign partners.  Other governments and institutions – including NATO, INTERPOL, and the UN – are now taking steps to improve their own efforts as well.

The United States also played a major role in building our partners’ capabilities to detect, disrupt, and dismantle terrorist networks.  Our goal was to enable governments on the front lines to address the terrorist threats they face on their own, without needing to rely on the United States in the future.  Key lines of effort included information sharing, aviation and border security, countering terrorist radicalization and recruitment, crisis response capability, countering terrorism finance, repatriating FTFs, countering Iran-backed terrorist groups, and law enforcement “finishes” – arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating terrorists.

The United States also leveraged multilateral organizations to advance key U.S. counterterrorism priorities.  In September, the 30-member Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) adopted a new series of good practices to assist countries in meeting their watchlisting and screening obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 2396, a landmark resolution spearheaded by the United States in 2017.  The GCTF developed and adopted new guiding principles – and accompanying policy, legal, and technical tools – to counter terrorist use of unmanned aerial systems against civilian targets.  Together with Chile, the United States launched the Inter-American Network on Counterterrorism through the Organization for American States’ Inter-American Committee on Terrorism (OAS/CICTE).  This network will enable participating OAS members to share information on a 24/7 basis to respond more effectively to terrorist threats.

The United States engaged a host of international partners – from governments to local religious leaders to tech companies – to counter terrorist radicalization and recruitment, both online and offline, and to help develop messaging strategies and counter disinformation and propaganda.  We supported international initiatives, including the Strong Cities Network, which trained more than 200 municipal leaders from dozens of cities through multiple workshops and exchanges.  Approximately 20 cities adopted new policies and practices to counter terrorist radicalization, including the forming of the Task Force Against Hate, to specifically counter REMT.

These efforts are only a snapshot of our ongoing work to protect the United States and our allies from the scourge of terrorism.  Country Reports on Terrorism 2019 provides a detailed review of last year’s successes and the ongoing challenges facing our country and our partners.  As we look to 2020 and beyond, the United States and our partners remain deeply committed to the global counterterrorism fight.

Ambassador Nathan A. Sales
Coordinator for Counterterrorism

AMISOM African Union Mission in Somalia
AML/CFT Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism
APEC Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
APG Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering
API Advance Passenger Information
ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations
ATS-G Automated Targeting System-Global
ATA Anti-Terrorism Assistance
AU African Union
CFT Countering the Financing of Terrorism
CT Counterterrorism
CTED United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate
CBP U.S. Customs and Border Protection
CVE Countering Violent Extremism
DHS U.S. Department of Homeland Security
DoD Department of Defense
DOJ U.S. Department of Justice
EAG Eurasian Group on Combatting Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing
EU European Union
EUROPOL European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation
EXBS Export Control and Related Border Security Program
FATF Financial Action Task Force
FIU Financial Intelligence Unit
FTO Foreign Terrorist Organization
FTF Foreign Terrorist Fighter
GAFILAT Financial Action Task Force of Latin America
GCERF Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund
GCTF Global Counterterrorism Forum
GICNT Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism
GTR Global Threat Reduction Program
ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization
IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency
IED Improvised Explosive Device
INTERPOL International Police Criminal Organization
ISIS Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
JNIM Jama-at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslim
MINUSMA UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali
MONEYVAL Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering
MOU Memorandum of Understanding
MFT Measures and the Financing of Terrorism
NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NGO Nongovernmental Organization
ODNI Office of the Director of National Intelligence
OPCW Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
OSCE Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
PKK Kurdistan Workers’ Party
PNR Passenger Name Record
PREACT Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism
PISCES Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System
REMT Racially and Ethnically Motivated Terrorism
TSCTP Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership
VBIED Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device
UN United Nations
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UNOCT United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism
UNODC United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
UNSC United Nations Security Council
UNSCR United Nations Security Council Resolution
USAID United States Agency for International Development
WMD Weapons of Mass Destruction

The Human Rights Report

In the countries listed below, significant human rights issues influenced the state of terrorist activity in the country and may have impeded effective counterterrorism policies and programs or supported causes and conditions for further violence.  Such human rights issues included, among others:  unlawful and arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, torture, and arbitrary detention (all of the preceding by both government and nonstate actors); harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; violence against and unjustified arrests of journalists; substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association; widespread and pervasive corruption; repression of religious freedom ad violence against religious minorities; and forced and bonded labor.

Please see the U.S. Department of State 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and the 2019 International Religious Freedom Reports for more information:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Iraq, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

The International Narcotics Control Strategy Report

For additional information on money laundering and financial crimes regarding the countries listed below, see the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes:

Albania, Azerbaijan, Brazil, China, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, The Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Thailand, and Turkey.



African countries and regional organizations sustained ongoing counterterrorism efforts against threats in East Africa, the Sahel, and the Lake Chad region while increasing emphasis on preventing the expansion of terrorist groups, affiliates, and associated organizations into new operating areas in West Africa and Southern Africa.

In East Africa, al-Shabaab retained safe haven, access to recruits and resources, and de facto control over large parts of Somalia through which it moves freely and launched external operations attacks in neighboring Kenya.  Al-Shabaab maintained its allegiance to al-Qa’ida, remaining intent on limiting the influence and reach of the northern Somalia-based group of ISIS-linked fighters responsible for local suicide bombings and other attacks against Somali security forces in greater Mogadishu.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali security forces continued cooperation with the United States to exert pressure on al-Shabaab, primarily through coordinated counterterrorism (CT) operations and small advances in governance in southern Somalia.  The United States continued to support East African partners across the Horn of Africa in their efforts to build CT capacity, including in aviation and border security, advisory assistance for regional security forces, training and mentoring of law enforcement to manage crisis response and conduct investigations, and advancing criminal justice sector reforms.  East African partners undertook efforts to develop and expand regional cooperation mechanisms to interdict terrorist travel and other terrorism-related activities.

In the Lake Chad region, ISIS-West Africa (ISIS-WA) – which split off from Boko Haram (BH) in 2015 – and, to a lesser extent, Boko Haram, continued to conduct attacks against civilians, government, and security forces, which resulted in deaths, injuries, abductions, and the capture and destruction of property.  Nigeria, along with its neighbors Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Benin – and at times in conjunction with the Multinational Joint Task Force – worked to counter these threats, but proved unable to stop ISIS-WA’s advance in the region or ensure adequate governance and protection for civilian populations.  The United States continued to provide advisors, intelligence, training, logistical support, and equipment to Lake Chad region countries and supported a wide range of stabilization efforts, such as defection, demobilization, disengagement, de-radicalization, and reintegration programming.  Continued attacks by BH and ISIS-WA have taken a heavy toll on the civilian population, especially in northeast Nigeria where attacks have displaced more than two million people and left roughly 10 million in need of humanitarian assistance.

In the broader Sahel region, terrorist groups have expanded their operations in north and central Mali and the Tri-Border Region of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.  These include affiliates of al‑Qa’ida and ISIS, such as Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) and ISIS-Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS), respectively, as well as non-aligned groups.  The number of attacks in the Western Sahel region increased 250 percent since 2018.  Partner countries remain strong willed against terrorism but lack the means to contain or degrade the threat on a sustained basis.  The G5 Sahel Joint Force (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger) was launched in 2017 to coordinate counterterrorism operations among member countries.  The G5 Sahel is not yet capable of disrupting the growing terrorist footprint across the Sahel but has potential as a coordination mechanism.  France’s Operation Barkhane, with 5,200 troops on the ground, plays a crucial role in countering terrorist groups and promoting a level of basic security, as does the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

Terrorists routinely manipulated local communal conflicts and their leaders to support terrorist operations by assisting with long-standing claims against other groups.  For example, in Nigeria, terrorists exploited the fighting between the Peuhl and Fulani ethnic groups, as well as the perennial farmer-herder violence over water and grazing areas, to recruit supporters and advance their political and operational interests.  Terrorists continued to carry out attacks on military outposts, kidnap western private citizens and humanitarian workers, attack churches, mosques and schools teaching western curricula, and assassinate civil servants and politicians.  In Mali, the government has been unable to regain control of northern and central parts of the country.  Burkina Faso also experienced increased terrorism in its northern and eastern provinces and in the southern and western parts of the country.  There was also a notable uptick in violence in the tri-border region shared by Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, which affected all three countries.

Terrorist activities increased in central and southern Africa in 2019.  In eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the ISIS-linked Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) attacked Congolese civilians, the DRC armed forces (FARDC), and UN peacekeepers.  The group reportedly killed more 300 civilians in Beni Territory as of December 13, with press reporting at least 32 additional deaths as of December 18.  The group announced plans for a significant increase in attacks on civilians in response to counter-ADF FARDC operations launched on October 30.

The ISIS affiliate in Mozambique carried out numerous attacks in northern Mozambique, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 350 civilians and the internal displacement of 60,000 people.

South Africa, however, saw a decrease in suspected terrorism-related incidents in 2019, following an unusually high number of incidents in 2018.  ISIS facilitation networks and cells that were first publicly acknowledged by the South African government in 2016 remained a threat.


Burkina Faso
Democratic Republic of the Congo
South Africa

East Asia and the Pacific


In 2019, governments in East Asia and the Pacific continued working to strengthen legal frameworks, investigate and prosecute terrorism cases, increase regional cooperation and information sharing, and address critical border and aviation security gaps.  Regional cooperation between domestic law enforcement and judicial authorities among countries throughout Southeast Asia resulted in high numbers of terrorism-related arrests and, in many cases, successful prosecutions.

On March 15, 2019, a gunman carried out and live-streamed a terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.  Fifty-one people were killed, 50 more were injured, and the livestream was viewed around 4,000 times before being removed by technology companies.  Two months later, a group of government leaders and major online service providers adopted a non-binding pledge – the Christchurch Call to Action to Eliminate Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online (Christchurch Call) – to prevent terrorist use of the internet.  The United States did not endorse the Christchurch Call due to policy and legal concerns, but it supports the overall goals and continues to work with international partners to counter the use of the internet for terrorist purposes.  This was illustrated by U.S. endorsement of the 2019 G20 Osaka Leaders’ Statement on Preventing Exploitation of the Internet for Terrorism and Violent Extremism and the 2019 G-7 Biarritz Strategy for an Open, Free and Secure Digital Transformation, among others.

Multiple suicide bombings in the Philippines were a new phenomenon for the region.  They included a complex attack against a military unit in Sulu, which involved the first Filipino suicide bomber, as well as a suicide attack at the Jolo Cathedral in Sulu, carried out by an Indonesian couple.  Southeast Asian governments remained concerned about foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) returning from Iraq or Syria and using their operational skills, connections, and experience to launch domestic attacks.

Authorities in East Asia and the Pacific actively participated in regional and international efforts to counter terrorism.  Australia, Fiji, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan are partners in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.  Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, and New Zealand are members of the GCTF.  As co-chairs of the GCTF Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Working Group, Australia and Indonesia organized an annual plenary meeting and workshops on monitoring, measuring, and evaluating CVE programs, CVE in prisons, and the role of gender and civil society organizations in CVE.

Civil society organizations expressed concern that some governments in the region used terrorism as a pretext to target religious minorities and human rights activists.  The Chinese government’s repressive approach to counterterrorism disregards human rights and relies heavily on mass surveillance, censorship, and mass internment of religious and ethnic minorities.  China’s CT efforts continue to focus primarily on “extremists” whom Beijing ascribes to the so-called East Turkistan Islamic Movement, despite a lack of independent evidence that a group by that name is still active.  The Chinese government has detained more than one million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in internment camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, using counterterrorism as a pretext.


China (Hong Kong and Macau)



Europe continued to face many ongoing terrorist threats and concerns in 2019, including from U.S.-designated FTOs, FTFs returning from Iraq and Syria, homegrown terrorists, and Iran-backed terrorists.  Despite the total loss of its geographic territory, ISIS continued to project its influence by fomenting attacks against symbolic European targets and public spaces, and recruiting from European countries.  Most of these incidents occurred in Western Europe and Russia and involved simple plots with easily executable tactics, such as the use of common tools and vehicles to injure or kill pedestrians.

Many FTFs from Europe remained in the custody of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeast Syria at the end of 2019.  The United States urged European and other countries to bring back their citizens and prosecute, rehabilitate, and reintegrate them as appropriate, as the United States has done.  However, with the notable exceptions of Ireland and Italy, Western European governments generally refused to repatriate and prosecute their citizens, despite having extensive resources and well developed judicial systems.  A number of Western European countries revoked the citizenship of certain citizens who traveled to Syria or Iraq to join ISIS.  Countries in southeast Europe, including Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, successfully repatriated numerous ISIS-affiliated citizens, including FTFs.  The SDF lacks the resources, capacity, and support to detain ISIS fighters and family members for the long term.

In Turkey, terrorist groups espousing a range of extremist and nationalist ideologies, such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front, continued to plot against police and military targets in Turkey and raise funds throughout the rest of Europe.  Many European countries also saw a rise in racially or ethnically motivated terrorist (REMT) activity and plotting, including against religious and other minorities.

Several European countries took concrete steps to combat Iranian regime-backed terrorism in 2019.  Albania, Denmark, and France all reduced diplomatic relations in response to Iran-backed plots to conduct assassinations or bombings in those countries.  These plots in the heart of Europe illustrate the global reach of Tehran’s terrorist capabilities.  In response to Iran’s terrorist plotting in Europe, the United States in 2019 launched the Countering Transnational Terrorism Forum (CTTF), bringing together law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and financial practitioners from more than 25 countries to disrupt Iranian terrorist activities and networks.  Numerous European nations also continued to participate in the U.S.-Europol Law Enforcement Coordination Group (LECG) to counter Hizballah’s terrorist and illicit activities around the world.  The LECG met twice in 2019.

Many European governments are increasingly concerned about the threat posed by REMT.  A deadly October 2019 attempted attack targeting a synagogue in Halle, Germany, demonstrated the continued danger posed by REMT actors who exploit the internet and social media to spread violent propaganda.  A number of European governments expanded law enforcement and other government efforts to combat the threat posed by REMT individuals and groups.

European countries were integral to worldwide counterterrorism efforts in 2019.  Thirty-nine European countries, the EU, INTERPOL, and NATO were active in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.  In December, NATO Allies endorsed an update to the NATO Counterterrorism Action Plan, which includes efforts to increase resilience, expand cooperation with NATO partners and international organizations, and improve information sharing.  The Counterterrorism Action Plan continues to support the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, and NATO Mission Iraq.


Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Netherlands
North Macedonia
United Kingdom

The Middle East and North Africa


Although significant terrorist activities and safe havens continued to persist in the Middle East and North Africa throughout 2019, the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and its local partners achieved important milestones, to include liberating the remaining territory held by ISIS in Syria and the successful raid against ISIS emir Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  Given the collapse of its so-called “caliphate,” remnants of ISIS in Iraq and Syria reverted to clandestine tactics – a trend expected to continue.  Beyond Iraq and Syria, ISIS branches, networks, and supporters across the Middle East and North Africa remained active in 2019, including in Libya, the Arabian Peninsula, the Sinai Peninsula, Tunisia, and Yemen.  Al-Qa’ida (AQ) and its affiliates, as well as Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and Iran-backed terrorist groups, also remained active throughout the region.

ISIS continued its terrorist campaign in the Sinai through its branch ISIS-Sinai Province (ISIS-SP), and terrorist groups in Egypt carried out more attacks than in recent years.  Of note, ISIS-SP was the first ISIS affiliate to swear allegiance to the new ISIS self-proclaimed caliph following Baghdadi’s death.  In the Maghreb, counterterrorism efforts and operations by Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia thwarted the activities of ISIS and other terrorist groups.  Algerian armed forces and internal security forces published figures showing an increase in arrests of terrorists or terrorist suspects compared with 2018, and Tunisia increased its successful CT operations, including the killing of Jund al-Khilafah’s leader.  In Libya, nonstate actors conducted ground operations to neutralize the threat posed by ISIS and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) fighters and facilitators.  The United States conducted precision airstrikes targeting ISIS cells in southern Libya, disrupting the group’s organizational presence in the South and eliminating key ISIS personnel.  Most terrorist attacks in Libya during the year were conducted by ISIS.

Despite setbacks, AQ remained resilient and actively sought to reconstitute its capabilities and maintain safe havens amid fragile political and security climates, particularly in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen.  For example, AQ and AQ-affiliated groups continued to operate in Idlib province in northwest Syria and AQ-aligned Ansar al-Islam also posed a threat in Egypt.

In Yemen, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS’s Yemen branch continued to exploit the security vacuum created by the ongoing conflict between the Republic of Yemen Government and Iran-backed Houthi militants, while also contending with each other.  Additionally, the IRGC-QF and Hizballah continued to take advantage of the conflict to destabilize the region, including by providing weapons and training to Houthi militants who committed attacks against neighboring states.  AQAP used its tribal connections and public discontent with the Iran-backed Houthis to recruit new members, conduct attacks, and operate in areas of southern and central Yemen with relative impunity, although CT operations eliminated key leaders, pushed the group out of certain areas, and pressured the group’s networks.  Though significantly smaller than AQAP, ISIS’s Yemen branch engaged in operations against AQAP and continued to claim attacks against Yemeni security forces and civilians, as well as Iran-backed Houthis.

Iran continued to use its IRGC-QF to advance its interests abroad, providing cover for intelligence operations, creating instability, and fomenting violence in the Middle East.  In April, the U.S. Secretary of State designated the IRGC, including the Qods Force, as an FTO for the IRGC’s continued support to and engagement in terrorist activity around the world.  This was the first time the United States ever designated part of another government as an FTO, reflecting that the Iranian regime is unique in using terrorism as a basic tool of its statecraft.

Among other malign activities, in September, Iran targeted some of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s most important oil-processing facilities, and Iran also continued to acknowledge the active involvement of the IRGC-QF in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, the latter in support of the Assad regime.  Through the IRGC-QF, Iran continued its support to several U.S.-designated terrorist groups, providing funding, training, weapons, and equipment.  Among the groups receiving support from Iran are Hizballah, Hamas, Palestine Islamic Jihad, Kata’ib Hizballah (KH) in Iraq, and al-Ashtar Brigades in Bahrain.  Iran also provided weapons and support to Shia militant groups in Iraq, to the Houthis in Yemen, and to the Taliban in Afghanistan.  In December, KH launched a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base hosting U.S. and Coalition forces, killing one American civilian contractor and wounding several U.S. and Iraqi service members.  In an immediate response to that attack, the United States carried out precision strikes against five targets associated with KH in Iraq and Syria.  On December 31, Iran instigated an attack by demonstrators, including Iran-backed terrorists and militia members, on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which resulted in damage to embassy property.

Countries in the Gulf region continued to take important steps to combat terrorism.  Following the third U.S.-Qatar Counterterrorism Dialogue in November, the two governments declared fulfillment of their July 2017 Memorandum of Understanding largely complete and committed to set shared counterterrorism priorities for 2020.  Saudi Arabia and the United States continued to co-lead the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC), an initiative founded in 2017 to increase U.S.-Gulf multilateral collaboration to counter terrorist financing.  In 2019, TFTC members imposed sanctions against individuals and entities affiliated with the Iranian regime’s terror-support networks in the Middle East.  The ongoing rift between Qatar on one side and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt on the other continued to strain regional cooperation and unity of effort, particularly on countering Iranian threats.

In the Levant, Jordan and Lebanon both remained committed partners to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.  Several terrorist groups, most notably Hizballah, continued to operate in Lebanon throughout the year.  Hizballah remained Iran’s most powerful terrorist partner and the most capable terrorist organization in Lebanon, controlling areas across the country.  Iran’s annual financial backing to Hizballah – which in recent years has been estimated at $700 million – accounts for the overwhelming majority of the group’s annual budget.  Hizballah’s presence in Lebanon and Syria continued to pose a threat to Israel.  Israel published information in August about Hizballah’s efforts to produce precision-guided missiles (PGMs) within Lebanon.  While Hizballah said it possessed enough PGMs for a confrontation with Israel, it denied missiles were being developed in Lebanon.  Israel also uncovered and destroyed multiple tunnels dug by Hizballah under the border into Israel that could have been used for terrorist attacks between December 2018 and January 2019.  Although Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza and the West Bank continued to threaten Israel, Israeli and Palestinian Authority security forces continued their coordination in the West Bank in an effort to mitigate violence.


Israel, West Bank, and Gaza
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates

South and Central Asia


In addition to continued terrorist activity in Afghanistan and Pakistan, South Asia in 2019 saw a volatile mix of insurgent attacks punctuated by major incidents of terrorism in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir (now known as the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir) and in Sri Lanka.  A February 14 suicide bombing attack against an Indian paramilitary convoy in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir led to military hostilities and heightened tensions between India and Pakistan.  Although ISIS lost the last remnants of its territory in Syria in March, it announced new branches in Pakistan and India in May and claimed responsibility for the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka in April.

Although al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been seriously degraded, key figures among AQ’s global leadership, as well as its regional affiliate al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), continued to operate from remote locations in the region that historically served as safe havens.

Afghanistan continued to experience aggressive and coordinated terrorist attacks by ISIS’s branch in the region, ISIS Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), and by the Afghan Taliban, including the affiliated Haqqani Network (HQN).  Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) retained full responsibility for security in Afghanistan and, in partnership with NATO’s Resolute Support Mission, took aggressive action against terrorist elements across Afghanistan.  In offensives in late 2019, the ANDSF and the Taliban significantly degraded ISIS-K in Nangarhar province, denying ISIS territory, but the group continues to operate and regroup.

While Pakistan continued to experience terrorist attacks, there were fewer attacks and casualties than in 2018, continuing an overall decline.  Pakistani military and security forces undertook CT operations against groups that conducted attacks within Pakistan, such as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), ISIS-K, and the Balochistan Liberation Army.  Pakistan took modest steps in 2019 to counter terror financing and restrain India-focused militant groups from conducting large-scale attacks following the February attack on a security convoy in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir linked to Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).  Pakistan took action against some externally focused groups, including indicting Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and associates in three separate terrorism financing cases.

However, Pakistan remained a safe harbor for other regionally focused terrorist groups.  It allowed groups targeting Afghanistan, including the Afghan Taliban and affiliated HQN, as well as groups targeting India, including LeT and its affiliated front organizations, and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), to operate from its territory.  It did not take action against other known terrorists such as JeM founder and UN-designated terrorist Masood Azhar and 2008 Mumbai attack “project manager” Sajid Mir, both of whom are believed to remain free in Pakistan.  Pakistan, however, did make some positive contributions to the Afghanistan peace process, such as encouraging Taliban reductions in violence.  Pakistan made some progress toward meeting the Action Plan requirements for the FATF, allowing it to avoid being blacklisted, but did not complete all Action Plan items in 2019.

In August, India amended the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act of 1967 to authorize the designation of individuals as terrorists – which it did a month later by designating four terrorists, including the leaders of LeT and JeM.  The Indian Parliament also amended the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act of 2008 to provide the NIA the ability to investigate terrorism cases overseas.  The United States continues to build its strategic partnership with the Government of India, including through the bilateral Counterterrorism Joint Working Group meeting in March and the second 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in December.

In April, ISIS-inspired terrorists conducted sophisticated suicide bombing attacks against churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, resulting in hundreds of deaths.  It was a vivid example of ISIS’s determination, after the loss of its so-called “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq, to continue the fight from its global branches and networks and by inspiring attacks.

In Maldives, the Solih administration continues to make progress bolstering its CT efforts.  In July, President Solih announced Maldives’ intent to facilitate the return and prosecution of Maldivian FTFs and families in Syria.  The Maldivian government also passed an amendment strengthening its 2015 Anti-Terrorism Act and designated 17 terrorist organizations in September.  In October, Maldivian police arrested Specially Designated Global Terrorist and ISIS recruiter Mohamad Ameen on “suspicion of spreading extremist ideology.”

In Bangladesh, ISIS-affiliated terrorists claimed six IED attacks, five of which were directed against Bangladesh police.  ISIS’s At-Tamkin media outlet released a Bangla-language propaganda video outlining its campaign against the Bangladesh government and other declared enemies.

Central Asian countries remained concerned about the potential spillover of terrorism from Afghanistan, as well as the potential threat posed by the return of their citizens who traveled to Iraq or Syria to fight with terrorist groups, including ISIS.  Between January and June, the Kazakhstan government led the world in FTF repatriations by bringing back 595 Kazakhstani fighters and family members from Syria, prosecuting those suspected of participating in terrorist activity abroad, and providing rehabilitation and reintegration services to the remainder.  Also in 2019, the Uzbekistan government repatriated 220 FTF family members from Iraq and Syria, mostly women and children, while the Tajikistan government repatriated 95.  The Kyrgyz Republic saw the return of about 300 FTFs and family members.

In November, ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack on the Tajik-Uzbek border.  Through the C5+1 (the United States plus the Central Asian countries), officials from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan participated in the associated C5+1 Security Working Group focused on regional cooperation on CT.


Kyrgyz Republic
Sri Lanka

Western Hemisphere


In 2019, the Lebanon-based and Iran-backed terrorist group Hizballah continued its long history of activity in the Western Hemisphere, including its use of supporters and financiers who operate in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of South America, where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet.  The United States continues to be vigilant about individuals affiliated with international terrorist groups, including al-Qa’ida and ISIS, who have made attempts to exploit the region.  These include a suspected AQ operative in Brazil, about whom the FBI issued a public notice in August, as well as ISIS supporters and sympathizers in a number of countries including Canada and Trinidad and Tobago.  Meanwhile, regional terrorist groups, such as the National Liberation Army (ELN) and Shining Path, were active in the hemisphere, including in Colombia, Venezuela, and Peru.  In Colombia, an estimated 2,600 Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dissidents who never demobilized, left the peace process, or are new recruits, continued violent attacks, primarily to enable narcotics trafficking and other criminal activities.  While travel of FTFs from the Western Hemisphere to conflict zones was limited in 2019, the potential return of these battle-tested terrorists remained a concern.

Many Latin American countries have porous borders, limited law enforcement capabilities, and established smuggling routes.  Commercial hubs in the TBA and Panama remained regional nodes for money laundering and vulnerable to terrorist financing.  Corruption, weak government institutions, insufficient interagency cooperation, weak or non-existent legislation, and a general lack of resources likewise remained obstacles to improving security.  Nevertheless, some Western Hemisphere countries made significant progress in their counterterrorism efforts in 2019 and strengthened regional cooperation against terrorism.

Cuba and Venezuela continued to provide permissive environments for terrorists.  In Venezuela, individuals linked to FARC dissidents (who remain committed to terrorism notwithstanding the peace accord) and the ELN, as well as Hizballah sympathizers, were present in the country.  Nicolas Maduro has openly welcomed former FARC leaders who announced a return to terrorist activities.  Members of the ELN who were in Havana to conduct peace talks with the Colombian government since 2017 also remained in Cuba.  Cuba, citing peace negotiation protocols, refused Colombia’s request to extradite 10 ELN leaders after that group claimed responsibility for the January 2019 bombing of a Bogota police academy, which killed 22 and injured 87 others.  Multiple fugitives who committed or supported acts of terrorism in the United States also continued to live freely in Cuba.

Several countries in the region took steps in 2019 to designate Hizballah as a terrorist organization.  Argentina developed a new sanctions regime and used it to designate the entirety of Hizballah and individuals specifically connected to the 1992 and 1994 bombings of the Israeli Embassy and Argentine Israelite Mutual Association Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.  Paraguay designated terrorist organizations and individuals, in particular targeting Hizballah, and is identifying possible sanctions against designated entities.  In October, Venezuela’s democratically elected National Assembly designated Hizballah as a terrorist organization, along with other groups including ISIS and ELN.  In Peru, the government continued efforts to retry Hizballah operative Muhammad Ghaleb Hamdar after a Peruvian court previously acquitted him of terrorism charges in 2017.

Argentina hosted the Second Western Hemisphere Counterterrorism Ministerial in July, which included 18 participating countries.  At the Ministerial, countries affirmed that ISIS, al-Qa’ida, and their affiliated organizations were a terrorist threat, expressed concern about Hizballah activities in the hemisphere, and recognized ELN as a threat to regional stability.  At the Ministerial, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and the United States established the Regional Security Mechanism (RSM).  The RSM – a reconstituting of the previous “3+1” initiative – focuses on the threats of transnational crime and terrorism in the region.  In November 2019, the RSM held its first experts meeting in Asuncion, Paraguay, bringing together officials from intelligence, law enforcement, border security, financial intelligence, financial regulatory, and foreign affairs agencies from the four member countries.

In October, the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (OAS/CICTE) formally announced the launch of the Inter-American Network on Counterterrorism, with funding support from Chile and the United States.  The network, the only one of its kind in the Americas, will operate on a 24/7 basis among OAS member states.  By facilitating communication among points of contact designated by each member state, countries of the Western Hemisphere will be able to respond more effectively to terrorist threats.


Trinidad and Tobago

This report provides a snapshot of events during 2019 relevant to countries designated as State Sponsors of Terrorism.  It does not constitute a new announcement regarding such designations.

To designate a country as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, the Secretary of State must determine that the government of such country has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.  Once a country is designated, it remains a State Sponsor of Terrorism until the designation is rescinded in accordance with statutory criteria.  A wide range of sanctions is imposed as a result of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation, including:

  • A ban on arms-related exports and sales;
  • Controls over exports of dual-use items, requiring 30-day Congressional notification for goods or services that could significantly enhance the terrorist-list country’s military capability or ability to support terrorism;
  • Prohibitions on economic assistance; and
  • Imposition of miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.


Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

The use of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) materials and expertise remained a terrorist threat in 2019.  The United States published a National Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Terrorism in 2018 and continues to work proactively to disrupt and deny ISIS and other nonstate actors’ CBRN capabilities.

The international community has established numerous international partnerships to counter the CBRN threat from terrorists and other nonstate actors.  The United States routinely provides technical and financial assistance and training to partner nations and international organizations to help strengthen their abilities to adequately protect and secure CBRN–applicable expertise, technologies, and material.

The Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (GP) was launched in 2002 to prevent terrorists – or states that support them – from acquiring or developing WMD.  Today, the GP has expanded its membership to 30 countries and the European Union and remains a vital forum for countries to exchange information on national priorities for CBRN programmatic efforts worldwide and coordinate assistance for these efforts.

The United States continues to support the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Division of Nuclear Security, which helps member states develop the capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to threats of nuclear terrorism through the development of guidance as well as the provision of training, technical advice, peer reviews, and other advisory services.

The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) is an international partnership of 89 nations and six official observer organizations dedicated to strengthening global capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to a nuclear terrorist incident.  In 2019, partner nations hosted eight multilateral activities that raised awareness of the threat of terrorist use of nuclear and radioactive materials and provided opportunities for countries to share information, expertise, and best practices in a voluntary, nonbinding framework.

Through the Global Threat Reduction Program (GTR), the Department of State continued its work to prevent states and terrorist groups from acquiring or proliferating WMD to attack the United States.  In 2019, the GTR’s chemical, biological, and nuclear security programs implemented more than one hundred capacity building projects to ensure that foreign partners could detect and counter WMD terrorism threats.  To ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS, the GTR continued training and equipping Iraqi counterterrorism and security forces to detect and respond to WMD attacks and supported Iraqi partners in formerly ISIS–controlled territory to secure weaponizable chemical and biological materials to prevent future WMD attacks.  In response to the threat of transnational terrorists conducting chemical weapons (CW) attacks using unrestricted, commercially available material, the GTR collaborated with security forces around the world to train law enforcement in partner countries to detect and prevent CW attacks against vulnerable transportation hubs, such as railways and subways.

To help partner countries intercept foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) attempting to carry out WMD plots, the GTR continued to partner with international law enforcement organizations to augment an existing FTF law enforcement database with WMD–applicable information, and trained partner countries to help populate the database and use the information to interdict WMD– capable FTFs.  The GTR also worked with personnel from Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Nigeria, the Philippines, and other countries to promote the adoption of security measures to prevent individuals or nonstate actors from acquiring potentially weaponizable chemical, biological, and nuclear material and technology.

The Department of State’s Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program funds capacity building programs aimed at strengthening legal and regulatory systems, developing licensing tools, enhancing border security and trade enforcement, providing outreach to key industrial and business sectors, and encouraging the sharing of information within governments and across national borders.  As part of a core national security strategy to combat ISIS and other terrorist organizations, a key objective of the EXBS Program is to provide substantive knowledge, skills, and tools to prevent state and nonstate actors from acquiring WMD, conventional arms, and explosives or using those materials against U.S. citizens and interests.  To achieve this objective, EXBS continued to train partner governments in the Middle Eastern and North African regions to detect, interdict, and counter the materials, technologies, and tactics that terrorists could use to carry out low-technology attacks on public transportation. Additionally, in 2019, EXBS began development of curriculum for partner nation security forces to address threats posed by improvised threats.  EXBS also provided comprehensive training to Middle East and North African border security officials on border security, cargo and passenger interdiction, and counter–IED training.  EXBS partnered with CT and the interagency to engage with key partners on aviation security programming.  Finally, EXBS furnished equipment and training to strengthen aviation security and mitigate threats to civilian aviation, and refurbished border security infrastructure – including at Rabia, on Iraq’s border with Syria – to stem the flow of illicit materials and maintain gains made against ISIS.

At a special session held in 2018, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Conference of the States Parties adopted a decision titled “Addressing the Threat From Chemical Weapons Use” that provides the OPCW’s Technical Secretariat with additional tools to respond to chemical weapons use, including by nonstate actors.  This landmark decision helps guide the work of OPCW in deterring chemical weapons use and responding if they are used. Specifically, the OPCW now has an Investigation and Identification Team that is working to identify the perpetrators of CW use in Syria.  The OPCW is considering options for further assistance to States Parties to help prevent the chemical weapons threat posed by nonstate actors and to aid contingency planning of States Parties in the event of a chemical weapons attack.  Through the Department’s Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund, the Administration provided funding to support the OPCW’s Technical Secretariat special missions and contingency operations related specifically to Syria through the OPCW’s “Trust Fund for Syria Missions.”

Terrorist safe havens described in this report include ungoverned, under-governed, or ill‑governed physical areas where terrorists are able to organize, plan, raise funds, communicate, recruit, train, transit, and operate in relative security because of inadequate governance capacity, political will, or both.

As defined by section 2656f(d) of Title 22 of the U.S. Code, the terms “terrorist sanctuary” and “sanctuary” exclude the territory of a country the government of which is subject to a determination under section 4605(j)(1)(A) of Title 50 [deemed under Section 1768(c)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA FY19) to refer to section 1754(c) of the NDAA FY19 as of August 13, 2018]; section 2371(a) of Title 22; or section 2780(d) of Title 22.  (For information regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Sudan, and Syria, see Chapter 2, State Sponsors of Terrorism.)



Somalia.  In 2019, terrorists used under-governed areas throughout Somalia as safe havens to plan, conduct, and facilitate operations within Somalia, including mass-casualty bombings in major urban areas, and attacks in neighboring countries.  The Federal Government of Somalia’s Comprehensive Approach to Security partnership with the international community includes military, law enforcement, and CVE-specific “strands” to ameliorate Somalia’s security challenges at the federal, state (federal member state), and local levels.  Somali law enforcement took several actions in 2019 that led to prosecutions of individuals suspected of terrorism-related activities.  However, Somali officials failed to implement vital national security reforms and pass legislation that could help enhance the government’s capacity to secure and govern effectively at all levels.  Despite these critical gaps in its counterterrorism strategy, the Somali government remained a committed partner and vocal advocate for U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

With the notable exception of targeted operations carried out by U.S.-trained and -equipped units of Somali military forces, the Somali National Army as a whole remained incapable of independently securing and retaking towns from al-Shabaab.  This critical gap allowed al‑Shabaab to continue to extort local populations and forcibly recruit fighters, some of whom were children.

As seen in previous years, al-Shabaab kept some of its safe haven in the Jubba River Valley as a primary base of operations for plotting and launching attacks. The group retained control of several towns throughout the Jubaland region, including Jilib and Kunyo Barow, and maintained operations in the Gedo region to exploit the porous Kenya-Somalia border and attack targets in Kenya.  The Kenyan government maintains a strong presence throughout the border region.

In northern Somalia, ISIS-linked fighters used the limited safe haven they established in Puntland to launch small-scale attacks.

Somalia remained heavily dependent on regional and international partners to support almost all major security functions throughout the country, making little progress on improving interagency coordination to limit terrorist transit through the country.

According to independent sources and non-governmental organizations engaged in demining activities on the ground, there was little cause for concern regarding the presence of WMD in Somalia.

The Lake Chad Region.  In 2019, Boko Haram (BH) and ISIS-West Africa (ISIS-WA) maintained limited safe havens in parts of northeast Nigeria and on islands in Lake Chad, and they prevented the reestablishment of state administration, service delivery, and humanitarian relief in broader territory surrounding Lake Chad.  These safe havens are reduced from the territory BH controlled in 2014-2015.  Forces from Nigeria and other members of the Multinational Joint Task Force (Benin, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger) lack the capability to clear these safe havens, and they lack the capacity and resources to secure borders and hold and administer liberated territory.  Both BH and ISIS-WA continued to conduct asymmetric attacks against civilians, military, and government personnel, including through suicide bombers, VBIEDs, raids, ambushes, kidnappings, and other means.  As a result of this insecurity, at year’s end more than 2.6 million people in the Lake Chad Region remained displaced and millions more remain dependent on humanitarian assistance.

No government in the Lake Chad Region was known to support or facilitate the proliferation or trafficking of WMD in or through its territory.

The Trans-Sahara.  In 2019, al-Qa’ida affiliate Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), and other groups, including Ansural Islam and ISIS in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS), continued to stage asymmetric attacks in the Trans-Sahara region.  In addition to asymmetric attacks, these groups perpetrated a series of large-scale conventional attacks on both patrols and fixed positions of regional Armed Forces.  These terrorist groups have freedom of movement in northern and central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, along the Mali-Niger border, and along both sides of the Burkina Faso/Niger border, demonstrated by their ability to quickly mass forces during the large‑scale attacks seen this year.  JNIM successfully inserted itself into long-standing ethnic conflicts such as the Fulani herder versus Dogon farmer conflict over grazing land and water.

The Malian government struggles to combat these terrorists, notwithstanding the presence of the UN peacekeeping mission, Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and a French presence in the region consisting of 4,500 military members. In Burkina Faso, the government has failed to stem the tide of violence; attacks increased significantly in 2019 compared to 2018.  The end of 2019 in Niger was marked by the largest casualty producing attack on the Nigerien Army to date.  On December 11, the Nigerien Army lost over 70 soldiers at a remote base in the Tillaberi region near the Malian border in an attack that was claimed by ISIS-GS.  There has been a significant influx of Western aid as part of the effort to increase the capacity of the G-5 Sahel Joint Force, of which Burkina Faso is a member.  Niger and Chad continue to combat terrorism on their borders. Mauritania has not experienced a terrorist attack since 2011.

No government in the region was known to support or facilitate the proliferation or trafficking of WMD in or through its territory, although the region remained prone to arms and munitions smuggling.


The Sulu/Sulawesi Seas Littoral.  The Government of Indonesia conducts monitoring and surveillance of suspected terrorist cells in its territory, but acknowledges that a lack of resources hinders its ability to monitor maritime and remote parts of Indonesia, including the Sulu and Sulawesi Seas.  In 2019, the Indonesian, Malaysian, and Philippines’ militaries continued coordinated patrols in the Sulu and Sulawesi Seas to deter and prevent kidnapping and terrorist transit in their adjoining exclusive economic zones.  The first trilateral land exercise occurred in North Kalimantan in July 2019.  Indonesia’s Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) hosted a bilateral counterterrorism workshop with the United States on September 4-5 to build capacity for various Indonesian agencies in preventing and countering terrorist activities in border areas and outer islands.  The workshop was the first under the auspices of the 2018 U.S.-Indonesia Memorandum of Understanding on Counterterrorism.

The Government of Malaysia sustained efforts to counter terrorist use of the Sulu/Sulawesi Seas as a safe haven by working with Indonesia and the Philippines to prevent the flow of FTFs through its territory.  The Royal Malaysian Police special forces unit 69 Komando, which focuses on counterterrorism, search and rescue, and counterinsurgency, participated in a crisis response training exercise in August with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command to build capacity on addressing extended hostage rescue scenarios.

The Southern Philippines.  The Philippine government closely tracked terrorist groups that continue to operate in some areas, particularly in the southern Philippines.  The government sustained aggressive military and law enforcement operations to deny safe haven to such groups and prevent the flow of FTFs through its territory.  The government further deepened close counterterrorism cooperation with the United States, enhancing military and law enforcement efforts to address the full spectrum of terrorist threats, including from WMD.  The government welcomed support from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency in 2019 to help reduce the risk of nonstate actors acquiring or using improvised chemical weapons.

International reconstruction assistance focused on Marawi continued, but concerns remained that efforts are not including local stakeholders and adjudicating competing land claims – both factors that terrorists can exploit.

Although the Philippine government possesses the political will to apply security measures against terrorist threats and has consistently partnered with the United States and other nations to build the capacity to do so, it struggles to apply a coordinated whole-of-government approach to prevent terrorism.  The continued ability of terrorist organizations to operate in the southern Philippines reflects the centuries-long challenge of governing effectively in the country’s more remote areas and establishing consistent security in a region characterized by a strong separatist identity, endemic poverty, and religious differences.


North Sinai.  In 2019, ISIS-Sinai Province (ISIS-SP) used portions of Egypt’s Sinai region as a base to conduct attacks against military and civilian targets in the Sinai, though they claimed no attacks in mainland Egypt.  Between January and December, 428 significant conflict events occurred in Northern Sinai, including 134 IED-related attacks, 153 airstrikes, and near weekly complex assaults on government fortified positions by ISIS-SP. These events have exemplified ISIS-SP’s freedom to maneuver during daytime hours and the expansion of its attacks westward, toward the Suez Canal Zone, and southward.  In April, ISIS-SP responded to the call to avenge ISIS’s territorial defeat in Syria by increasing attacks globally.  In addition, ISIS-SP was the first ISIS affiliate to swear allegiance to the new ISIS self-proclaimed caliph.

While Egypt’s most recent large-scale campaign against ISIS-SP, “Operation Sinai 2018,” ended, counterterrorism operations in Sinai continued.  Egypt continued to partner with U.S. counterterrorism efforts in this regard and continued its measures to prevent the proliferation and trafficking of WMD.  At the same time, the Government of Egypt, including the Egyptian Armed Forces, broadened its counterterrorism strategy in Sinai to encompass development and humanitarian projects on the peninsula.  ISIS-SP has continued to carry out attacks, and Egyptian security forces face frequent small arms and IED attacks.  These repeated attacks indicate that ISIS-SP remains intent on expanding its influence and operations in the Sinai.

The United States supported Egypt’s efforts to combat ISIS-SP and other terrorist groups in Egypt by providing AH-64 Apache helicopters, mine-resistant and ambush-protected vehicles, counter-IED training, mobile sensor towers, and border security training programs.  The United States routinely engages in military-to-military discussions on how it can help Egypt defeat ISIS-SP and other terrorist groups in Egypt.  The United States remains concerned about the security situation in Sinai and the potential effects on the Multinational Force and Observers peacekeeping mission located there.

Iraq.  Iran-backed Kata’ib Hizballah (KH), a designated FTO, continued to maintain an active presence in Iraq targeting U.S., Coalition, and Iraqi forces.  On December 27, KH launched a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base near Kirkuk, killing an American civilian contractor and wounding several U.S. military service members and Iraqi personnel.  In response, on December 29, the United States carried out military strikes in Iraq and Syria targeting KH.  On December 31, Iran-backed terrorists attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, resulting in no casualties but damaging the embassy exterior.

Supported by the 81-member Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, the Government of Iraq maintained nominal control of the territory retaken from ISIS in 2019.  ISIS remained a terrorist threat in Iraq in 2019, carrying out suicide, hit-and-run, and other asymmetric attacks throughout the country.  The United States continued to engage with the Government of Iraq to deny ISIS access to CBRN materials.  The United States worked to strengthen the expertise and ability of Iraq’s government, academic institutions, and private sector to secure weaponizable chemical and biological materials and to detect, disrupt, and respond effectively to suspected CBRN activity.  This included providing CBRN detection, analysis, and investigation training at internationally recognized training centers of excellence, such as the Defense CBRN Center in Vught, Netherlands, and the National Institute for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Protection in the Czech Republic.  The United States and Iraq also continued their bilateral partnership to counter nuclear smuggling under the framework of the 2014 Joint Action Plan on Combating Nuclear and Radioactive Materials Smuggling.

Lebanon.  Lebanon remained a safe haven for terrorist groups in Hizballah-controlled areas.  Hizballah used these areas for terrorist training, fundraising, financing, and recruitment.  The Government of Lebanon did not take actions to disarm Hizballah, which continued to maintain its weapons without the consent of the Lebanese government, contrary to UNSCR 1701.  The Lebanese government did not have complete control of all regions of the country or fully control its borders with Syria and Israel.  Hizballah controlled access to parts of the country and had influence over some elements within Lebanon’s security services

Al-Nusrah Front, ISIS, and other Sunni terrorist groups also continued to operate in ungoverned areas along the un-demarcated Lebanese-Syrian border in 2019.  The Lebanese government continued to take action to curtail these groups’ activities.  Other terrorist groups, including Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command, Asbat al-Ansar, Fatah al-Islam, Fatah al-Intifada, Jund al-Sham, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, continued to operate with limited government control within Lebanon primarily inside Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps.  These groups used the Palestinian camps as safe havens to house weapons, shelter wanted criminals, and plan terrorist attacks.

The United States worked closely with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Internal Security Forces to counter terrorist threats within Lebanon and along its border with Syria by providing counterterrorism training, military equipment, and weaponry.

Lebanon was not a source country for WMD components, but its porous border with Syria posed risks for the spread of WMDs.  In 2019, the LAF and other security services partnered with U.S. government agencies to detect and prevent proliferation and trafficking of WMDs.

Libya.  Conflict continued during the year between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Libyan National Army (LNA)-aligned groups and other nonstate actors, including terrorist groups.  Through most of 2019, GNA-aligned groups maintained control of most of Greater Tripoli, the Western Mountains, and the northwest coastal areas stretching from the Tunisian border to Sirte.  LNA-aligned groups controlled the remainder of Libya, including Cyrenaica, and increased their presence in the central and southern districts of Jufra, Kufra, Sabha, and Murzuq.  Libya’s vast, sparsely populated desert areas, particularly in central and southern Libya, remain safe havens for al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-Libya (ISIL-Libya).  The GNA, although the internationally recognized government, lacked the capacity and reach to project authority into most of Libya and relied on militias and other armed groups for security in areas it does not have the ability to effectively control.  The GNA had limited ability to eliminate terrorist safe havens, prevent the flow of FTFs, or ensure effective counter-proliferation efforts.  U.S. airstrikes conducted in coordination with the GNA applied pressure to ISIL-Libya networks in Libya during 2019.  Because of the difficulties of controlling the southern and desert borders and a lack of respect for security procedures at air and seaports of entry by foreign state or Libyan substate groups, the GNA remained unable to effectively track flows of FTFs in and out of its territory.  During the year, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) warned that terrorist groups attempted to reach Libya following the collapse of ISIS’s territorial caliphate in the Levant.  On March 6, security services of Bosnia and Herzegovina released a statement indicating that Nusret Imamovic, a U.S.-designated terrorist under Executive Order 13224, had travelled to Libya in February after having fled Syria where he had fought with al-Nusrah Front since 2013.  Rival factions and political stakeholders outside of the GNA, including in the LNA‑aligned forces, were also unable to stem the flow of FTFs.

Yemen.  Iran-backed Houthi militants controlled large portions of northern Yemen, where the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) continued to maintain a presence.  Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) supported the Republic of Yemen Government which continued to fight to reclaim territory held by Iran-backed Houthi militants.  The Republic of Yemen Government, with the support of the Saudis and Emiratis, continued counterterrorism operations to deny al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS-Yemen safe haven in the country.  The northwest of the country, as well as portions of the southern coast interior, are beyond Republic of Yemen Government control, severely constraining its ability to prevent terrorist training, funding, recruitment, and transit.  Although AQAP and ISIS‑Yemen have been degraded in recent years, the two groups continued to benefit from the ongoing conflict with the Houthis, successfully instilling themselves among elements of the anti‑Houthi coalition and exploiting the security vacuum in large parts of the country.  Under President Hadi’s leadership, the Republic of Yemen Government has been as cooperative with U.S., Saudi, and UAE counterterrorism operations as its limited capacity will allow.  In 2019, the UAE began retrograding portions of its forces from Yemen.

Yemen’s political instability continued to hinder efforts to enact or enforce comprehensive strategic trade controls to counter the flow of weapons and munitions in the region.  This left Yemen vulnerable as a transit point for destabilizing weapons, including weapons emanating from Iran.


Afghanistan.  Terrorist and insurgent groups exploit Afghanistan’s ungoverned spaces, including the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Islamic State’s Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), elements of al-Qa’ida, including affiliate al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), and terrorist groups targeting Pakistan, such as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, continued to use the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region as a safe haven.  Despite progress against ISIS-K in late 2019, the Government of National Unity (GNU) struggled to assert control over this remote terrain, where the population is largely detached from national institutions.  U.S. and Afghan security forces partnered in numerous counterterrorism operations against ISIS-K and AQIS, including an operation in September, which eliminated AQIS leader Asim Umar in Helmand province.

The potential for WMD trafficking and proliferation remained a concern.  In 2019, the United States and Afghanistan continued to work to finalize a bilateral framework to help Afghanistan enhance its capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear and other radioactive material smuggling incidents.  The Afghanistan and U.S. governments also continued to work to implement comprehensive strategic trade controls and strengthen Afghanistan’s border security.

Pakistan.  Although Pakistan’s National Action Plan calls to “ensure that no armed militias are allowed to function in the country,” several terrorist groups that focus on attacks outside the country continued to operate from Pakistani soil in 2019, including the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, and Jaish-e-Mohammed.  The government and military acted inconsistently with respect to terrorist safe havens throughout the country.  Authorities did not take sufficient action to stop certain terrorist groups and individuals from openly operating in the country.

Pakistan is committed to combating the trafficking of items that could contribute to the development of WMDs and their delivery systems.  Pakistan was a constructive and active participant in International Atomic Energy Agency-hosted meetings and in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT).


Colombia.  Rough terrain and dense forest cover, coupled with low population densities and historically weak government presence, define Colombia’s borders with Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.  Historically these conditions have allowed terrorist groups to operate, particularly Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dissidents and the National Liberation Army (ELN).  The peace accord between the Government of Colombia and FARC in 2016 led to a normalization of relations, with the latter entering the political sphere.  However, ongoing challenges to peace accord implementation and continued security vacuums have created risk for terrorist activity and attacks on civilians, security forces, and infrastructure in some areas in 2019.  A troubling number of FARC dissidents, estimated at around 2,600 individuals who chose not to participate in the peace process or have since abandoned the peace process, continued engaging in terrorist and other criminal activities, particularly in border regions and areas previously controlled by the FARC.

The ELN perpetrated armed attacks across the country in 2019.  In January, the ELN detonated a car bomb inside Colombia’s national police academy, killing 22 cadets and injuring 87 others.  President Duque suspended peace talks with the ELN after assuming office in August 2018, then ended them after the January 2019 attack.

Improved relations with neighboring Ecuador have led to some increased cooperation on law enforcement issues.  Colombia also continued to cooperate and share information with the Panamanian National Border Service.  Additionally, the Government of Colombia cooperated with Brazil to address potentially problematic areas along their shared borders, while Brazil continued efforts to implement its Integrated Border Monitoring System to monitor its entire border.

Cuba.  Cuba, citing peace negotiation protocols, refused Colombia’s request to extradite ten ELN leaders living in Havana after that group claimed responsibility for the January 2019 bombing of the national police academy in Bogota, killing 22 people and injuring 87.  On October 11, Colombia filed extradition requests for ELN leaders Victor Orlando Cubides aka “Pablo Tejada” and Isreal Ramirez Pineda aka “Pablo Beltran” with the Cuban government, which has pointedly not responded.  In addition to ELN terrorists, there was credible reporting that FARC dissidents who abandoned the peace process in Colombia traveled to Havana to seek the regime’s support.

Cuba also harbors several U.S. fugitives from justice wanted on charges of political violence, many of whom have resided in Cuba for decades.  For example, the Cuban regime has refused to return Joanne Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur, a fugitive on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List, who was convicted of executing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster.  Cuba also has refused to return William “Guillermo” Morales, a fugitive bomb maker for the Armed Forces for National Liberation (FALN), who is wanted by the FBI and escaped detention after being convicted of charges related to domestic terrorism; Ishmael LaBeet, aka Ishmael Muslim Ali, who received eight life sentences after being convicted of killing eight people in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1972 and hijacking a plane to flee to Cuba in 1984; Charles Lee Hill, who has been charged with killing New Mexico State Policeman Robert Rosenbloom in 1971; and Ambrose Henry Montfort, who used a bomb threat to hijack a passenger aircraft and fly to Cuba in 1983.  Cuba is also believed to host or have hosted U.S. fugitive terrorists Catherine Marie Kerkow and Elizabeth Anna Duke.  The Cuban government provides housing, food ration books, and medical care for all of the fugitives residing there.

Venezuela.  The regime allows and tolerates the use of its territory by terrorist organizations.  Much of Venezuela is ungoverned, under-governed, or ill-governed.  At times, the regime has openly welcomed terrorist activities in its territory.  On July 28, during the closing remarks of the Sao Paolo Forum in Caracas, Maduro stated that Iván Márquez and Jesús Santrich (former FARC leaders who were at that time missing and widely presumed to have left the peace process and returned to terrorist activities) were both welcome in Venezuela.  On August 29, both Márquez and Santrich appeared in a video in which they were wearing uniforms, carrying weapons, and calling for the FARC to return to arms against the Colombian government.  The democratically elected National Assembly criticized the regime’s provision of territory, Venezuelan national identification, and passports for members of the terrorist organization.  Venezuela is also a permissive environment for the ELN and Hizballah sympathizers.


In 2019, the Department of State designated one new FTO and amended two existing FTO designations by adding aliases (changing the primary name of one of the groups in the process).  In addition, the Department designated 19 organizations and individuals as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended.  The Department also reviewed and maintained the FTO designation of nine entities (treating a pre-existing alias of one of the groups as that group’s primary name going forward).

The Department of the Treasury also designated entities and individuals under E.O. 13224, as amended.  For a list of all U.S. designations, see the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control .

On September 9, the President amended Executive Order 13224 to enable the Departments of State and the Treasury to more effectively sanction the leaders of terrorist organizations and those who train to commit acts of terrorism.  This amendment is the most significant update of terrorist designation authorities since the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.  With this amendment, designations under Executive Order 13224 now also carry secondary sanctions implications. The Department of the Treasury can prohibit or impose strict conditions on the opening or maintaining in the United States of a correspondent account or payable-through account of any foreign financial institution that knowingly conducts or facilitates a significant transaction on behalf of any person designated pursuant to Executive Order 13224.

2019 Foreign Terrorist Organization/Executive Order 13224 Group Designations

  • On March 22, the Department of State amended the E.O. 13224 and FTO designations of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to include the aliases Amaq News Agency and Al Hayat Media Center. (See Chapter 5, Foreign Terrorist Organizations, for further information on ISIS.)
  • On April 15, the Department of State designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as an FTO. See Chapter 5, Foreign Terrorist Organizations, for further information on the IRGC.) The Department of the Treasury designated the IRGC as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) on October 13, 2017, based on activities it undertakes to assist in, sponsor, or provide financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), which had previously been designated as an SDGT.
  • On July 2, the Department of State amended the E.O. 13224 and FTO designations of Jundallah to include the aliases Jaysh al-Adl, Jeysh al-adl, Army of Justice, Jaish ul-Adl, Jaish al-Adl, Jaish Aladl, and Jeish al-Adl, and concluded that Jaysh al-Adl should be used as the group’s primary name. (See Chapter 5, Foreign Terrorist Organizations, for further information on Jaysh al-Adl.)
  • On December 20, in the course of reviewing and maintaining the designation of the al‑Mulathamun Battalion, the Department of State concluded that the pre-existing alias al-Murabitoun should be used as the group’s primary name.

2019 Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 Designations 

  • On March 5, the Department of State designated Harakat al-Nujaba (HAN), an Iranian proxy group established in 2013. HAN is an Iran-backed Iraqi militia funded by but not under the control of the Iraqi government.  HAN has openly pledged its loyalties to Iran and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
  • On March 5, the Department of State designated Akram ‘Abbas al-Kabi. Al-Kabi established Harakat al-Nujaba (HAN) in 2013.
  • On July 2, the Department of State designated Husain Ali Hazzima, the Chief of Hizballah Unit 200. Unit 200 is the Intelligence Unit of Hizballah, and it analyzes and assesses information collected by Hizballah military units.
  • On July 2, the Department of State designated the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), an armed separatist group that targets security forces and civilians, mainly in ethnic Baloch areas of Pakistan. BLA has carried out several terrorist attacks, including a suicide attack in August 2018 that targeted Chinese engineers in Balochistan, a November 2018 attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi, and a May 2019 attack against a luxury hotel in Gwadar, Balochistan.
  • On July 16, the Department of State designated Ali Maychou. Maychou has served in a leadership role in Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) since its inception in 2017; has previously claimed responsibility for an attack on a military camp that housed Malian Armed Forces in Gao, Mali, that killed dozens; and has had a role in operational activities of JNIM.
  • On September 10, the Department of State designated Hajji Taysir, a senior leader in ISIS who reported to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. As the ISIS Wali of Iraq and former amir of IEDs, Taysir likely ordered IED attacks in the region.  He was considered a booby-trap expert while working in ISIS’s booby-trap headquarters in 2016.
  • On September 10, the Department of State designated Abu Abdullah ibn Umar al‑Barnawi, the amir of ISIS-West Africa. Al-Barnawi was previously active in Boko Haram.
  • On September 10, the Department of State designated Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan. Sawadjaan is the amir of ISIS-Philippines and is the mastermind behind the January 27, 2019, Jolo City cathedral bombing that killed 23 and wounded 109.
  • On September 10, the Department of State designated Hurras al-Din, an al‑Qa’ida‑affiliated jihadist group that emerged in Syria in early 2018 after several factions broke away from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
  • On September 10, the Department of State designated Faruq al-Suri, also known as Abu Humam al-Shami. Al-Suri is a Syrian national, a former al-Nusra Front military commander in Syria, and the current leader of Hurras al-Din.
  • On September 10, the Department of State designated Ibrahim ‘Aqil. Aqil is a senior Hizballah Jihad Council member and Hizballah’s military operations commander.
  • On September 10, the Department of State designated Fu’ad Shukr. Shukr is a senior Hizballah Jihad Council member who oversees Hizballah’s specialized weapons units in Syria, including its missile and rocket unit.  He is a senior military advisor to Hizballah Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah and played a central role in the planning and execution of the October 23, 1983, U.S. Marine Corps barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed 220 U.S. Marines, 18 U.S. Navy sailors, and 3 U.S. Army soldiers.
  • On September 10, the Department of State designated Muhammad Haydar. Haydar is a senior leader within Hizballah’s Jihad Council.  Haydar was the Chief of Bureau 113, and ran Hizballah networks operating outside of Lebanon and appointed leaders of various units.
  • On September 10, the Department of State designated Ali Karaki. Karaki is a senior leader within Hizballah’s Jihad Council. He led Mu’awaniyeh 105 (Southern Command) and was responsible for military operations in southern Lebanon.  Southern Command was divided into five geographic fronts (Mihwar), each consisting of a group of villages in a geographically contiguous strip.
  • On September 10, the Department of State designated Baha’ Abu al-‘Ata. Al-‘Ata was a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Higher Military Council and a commander of the Gaza and North Battalion in the Al-Quds Brigade.
  • On September 10, the Department of State designated Muhammad al-Hindi. Al-Hindi is the Deputy Secretary General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
  • On September 10, the Department of State designated Marwan Issa. Issa is the deputy commander of the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the operational arm of Hamas.
  • On September 10, the Department of State designated Noor Wali. Wali is the leader of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in June 2018 following the death of former TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah.  Under Noor Wali’s leadership, TTP has claimed responsibility for numerous deadly terrorist attacks across Pakistan.
  • On November 7, the Department of State designated Amadou Kouffa. Kouffa is a senior member in JNIM, an al-Qa’ida affiliate active in the Sahel region of Africa.


In 2019, the United States continued to work through multilateral organizations to promote U.S. approaches to countering terrorism, and to strengthen regional and international counterterrorism efforts, including by developing and promoting global norms and building the capacities of states to implement them.  Examples of U.S. multilateral engagement are described below.

The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF).  Founded in 2011 by the United States and Turkey, the GCTF aims to diminish terrorist recruitment and increase countries’ capacity to deal with terrorist threats within their borders and regions by strengthening civilian institutions to counter terrorism.  The GCTF comprises three thematic and two regional working groups:  Countering Violent Extremism, Criminal Justice and the Rule of Law, Foreign Terrorist Fighters, Capacity Building in the East Africa Region, and Capacity Building in the West Africa Region.  In September 2017, the United States and Jordan became co-chairs of the Foreign Terrorist Fighters Working Group for an initial two-year term.  The United States and Jordan renewed their co-chairmanship of the FTF Working Group in 2019 for another two-year term, through September 2021. In September 2019, Canada succeeded the Netherlands as GCTF Co-Chair. Canada and Morocco will co-chair the GCTF through September 2021.

The UN is a close partner of, and participant in, the GCTF and its activities.  The GCTF continued to increase cooperation and partnership as outlined in the September 2018 joint GCTF-UN statement marking enhanced cooperation between the two bodies.  The GCTF serves as a mechanism to further the implementation of the universally agreed-upon UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and, more broadly, to complement and reinforce existing multilateral counterterrorism efforts, starting with those of the UN.  The GCTF also partners with a wide range of regional multilateral organizations, including the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the AU, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, and ASEAN.

In September 2019, GCTF ministers formally endorsed four new framework documents, including two co-led by the United States:

  • “New York Memorandum on Good Practices for Interdicting Terrorist Travel.” This initiative, co-led by Morocco and the United States, assists countries in implementing their obligations under UNSCR 2396 to prevent the travel of FTFs and other terrorists. The good practices contained in the New York Memorandum are intended to help countries and organizations build broader and more efficient watchlists and terrorist screening infrastructures. The New York Memorandum will serve as the basis of U.S.-led initiatives in 2019-2020.
  • “Berlin Memorandum on Good Practices for Countering Terrorist Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems.” Co-led by Germany and the United States, this initiative highlights the threat posed by terrorist use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) against civilian targets. The document presents policy, legal, and technical tools to mitigate the threat.
  • “Glion Recommendations on the Use of Rule of Law-Based Administrative Measures in a Counterterrorism Context.” Nigeria and Switzerland, as co-chairs of the Criminal Justice and Rule of Law Working Group, co-led the development of this document that offers guidance to policy makers, law enforcement officials, and other relevant stakeholders for the design, implementation, and monitoring of administrative measures in a counterterrorism context.
  • “Addendum to the GCTF Good Practices on Women and Countering Violent Extremism, with a Focus on Mainstreaming Gender.” This addendum, co-led by Australia and Indonesia as co-chairs of the CVE Working Group, elaborates on existing GCTF good practices on women and CVE with new insights on gender-specific motivations and pathways of terrorist radicalization and CVE responses to counter women and girls’ recruitment.

Also in September 2019, the GCTF launched three new initiatives, including two co-led by the United States:

  • “The Watchlisting Guidance Manual.” The United States and the UN are co-leading the development of a GCTF “toolkit” document that will elaborate on the non-binding good practices contained in the GCTF New York Memorandum. The resulting document will serve as a “toolkit” for nations to develop their own country specific watchlisting guidance and will pool collective knowledge of how to create and maintain effective watchlists of KSTs. This partnership with the UN is in support of the GCTF-UN commitment to strengthen cooperation.
  • “The Initiative on Maritime Security and Terrorist Travel.” The United States announced a two-year initiative to examine potential terrorist exploitation of the maritime sector for travel and how countries can take collective action to counter it. The initiative will produce a good practices document for endorsement in 2021 that will serve as an “addendum” to the GCTF New York Memorandum.
  • “Initiative on Criminal Justice Responses to the Linkages between Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crimes, and International Crimes.” Switzerland and Nigeria, as co-chairs of the Criminal Justice Rule of Law Working Group, announced a two-year project to examine criminal justice responses to the links between terrorism and crime. In 2019‑2020, the Working Group will hold workshops to produce a good practices document on criminal justice responses to the links between terrorism and crimes including the financing of terrorism, corruption, trafficking in persons, illicit trafficking, and migrant smuggling.
  • “Initiative on National-Local Cooperation in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.” Australia and Indonesia, as co-chairs of the CVE Working Group, are co‑leading the development of a good practices document to promote a whole-of-society approach as outlined in the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. The resulting document will strengthen “vertical cooperation” among governments and civil society groups

In 2019, the GCTF continued to work on several earlier initiatives, including promoting the non‑binding good practices contained in the Zurich-London Recommendations on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism Online.  The United States also held a side event during the UN General Assembly High-Level Week in September 2019 on the threats, challenges, and resources related to FTF and family repatriation, and will continue to focus efforts on the challenge of returning families of FTFs.

GCTF-Inspired Institutions.  The following three institutions were developed to operationalize GCTF good practices and to serve as mechanisms for strengthening civilian criminal justice responses to terrorism:

  • The International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ). Since its establishment in June 2014, the IIJ has become a widely respected training institution for sustainable rule of law capacity building activities to criminal justice sector practitioners, including lawmakers, police, prosecutors, judges, corrections officials, and other justice sector stakeholders on how to address terrorism and related transnational criminal activities.  In the last five years, the IIJ has trained over 4,500 criminal justice practitioners from 123 participating countries.  While the United States has contributed the majority of funding in the establishment of the IIJ, investment from other donors has increased steadily, including from the EU, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, and Spain.  With U.S. funding, the IIJ in 2019 trained over 900 practitioners on issues such as battlefield evidence, addressing homegrown terrorism, combating prison radicalization, successful counterterrorism prosecution, increasing international cooperation in terrorism investigations and prosecutions, and juvenile justice.  As an example of the IIJ’s expanding role as a hub for rule-of-law based counterterrorism efforts, the IIJ hosted the first-ever International Senior Leaders Seminar on Battlefield Evidence in December 2019, convening senior counterterrorism officials from 36 countries and 18 multilateral organizations.
  • Hedayah. On December 14, 2012, key GCTF member country senior officials inaugurated Hedayah, the first-ever international center of excellence for CVE, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).  Hedayah focuses on capacity building, dialogue and CVE communications, and research and analysis.  Hedayah continued to organize capacity building workshops on CVE communications, education-based approaches to CVE, and CVE National Action Plans (NAPs).  For example, Hedayah trained Western Balkans government officials on developing communication strategies to complement their CVE NAPs. Hedayah developed an East Africa “How-to Guide” for CVE communications and translated it into local languages.  The organization held its fourth annual research conference in Australia.  A 2019 evaluation of Hedayah’s 2018 prevention through education program in one country yielded positive evidence of teachers adopting good practices after their training.  The United States continued to fund an Abu Dhabi-based U.S. secondee as Hedayah’s Director of Dialogue and CVE Communications.
  • Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF). In September 2013, the GCTF called for the establishment of GCERF to serve as the first global fund to strengthen community resilience to terrorism. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, GCERF focuses on preventing and countering terrorism by building the capacity of small, local, community-based organizations.  GCERF actively partners with seven beneficiary countries: Bangladesh, Kenya, Kosovo, Mali, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Tunisia.  During 2019, GCERF grants directly empowered an estimated 1.2 million people at risk of terrorist recruitment and radicalization, and indirectly engaged a further estimated 6.2 million individuals.  Since 2014, 14 countries, plus the EU, have contributed more than $85 million to GCERF.  In 2019, GCERF brought on two new donor countries.

The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).  Through its I-24/7 secure global police communications system, INTERPOL connects member states’ law enforcement officials to its investigative and analytical databases and to its system for sending messages and notices.  The United States supports programs through INTERPOL’s General Secretariat and the U.S. National Central Bureau (USNCB) to help countries affected by the FTF phenomenon extend I-24/7 connections from their national central bureaus to air, land, and sea ports of entry, thereby allowing them to screen against INTERPOL databases and interdict FTFs and other transnational criminals.

Acknowledging the value of this initiative and the importance of addressing the remaining connectivity gaps in countries at risk of FTF travel, in 2016 the G-7 committed to extending I‑24/7 connectivity to 60 priority countries by 2021.  Since that time, the United States has engaged INTERPOL and USNCB to help fulfill the G-7 commitment by providing funding for projects aimed at extending connectivity in 12 countries.  In the coming year, U.S. funds will enable further expansion of this program to additional priority countries.

The United States continued to support the INTERPOL Counter-Terrorism Fusion Centre’s FTF project, which manages an analytical database containing identity profiles of FTFs compiled by connecting various types of available data (biometrics, travel documents, names, etc.).  These profiles are effective in supporting law enforcement and border control authorities to identify and interdict suspected terrorists, ensuring that the right piece of data reaches the right officer on the frontlines.  To support this initiative, the United States also has offered seed funding to support an INTERPOL project that will enhance the organization’s analytical capability by allowing its databases to cross-reference data that link, for example, individual terrorist profiles with lost and stolen travel documents, or fingerprints found on IEDs.  This capability will improve and speed up member states’ investigative capacity.  The United States also continued to support a range of counterterrorism capacity building activities through INTERPOL’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive Materials sub-directorate.

European Union (EU).  The 2010 U.S.-EU Agreement on the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program continued to enable the EU and the United States to share information related to financial messaging data for the purpose of identifying, tracking, and pursuing terrorists and their networks.

In 2019, the EU’s strengthened external border checks continued to help prevent the travel of FTFs.  In May, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) announced its first joint operation outside of the EU, deploying 50 officers to Albania in support of border security and managing migratory flows from Greece. The European Commission also signed two non-binding counterterrorism arrangements with Albania and North Macedonia in October.  Europol has officers and personnel in Italy and Greece who work alongside border security and immigration officers to assist in screening incoming migrants against Europol databases.   In cooperation with the FBI and EU member state law enforcement, Europol also established a task force in 2019 aimed at facilitating joint investigations and information sharing on FTF cases.  In an effort to strengthen judicial cooperation and cross-border investigations targeting suspected terrorists among EU member state prosecutors, Eurojust established a European Judicial Counter Terrorism Register on September 1.  The European Commission continued work on its Action Plan to Support the Protection of Public Spaces, which aims to enhance the capacity of member states to protect and reduce the vulnerability of soft targets, such as malls, restaurants, hotels, and other public spaces, against terrorist attacks.  EU and United Kingdom officials discussed how the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU would affect each organization’s access to certain shared databases.

The EU also continued six military and law enforcement capacity building missions in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, working closely with U.S. elements in counterterrorism, border security, and stabilization efforts.  To date, the EU has pledged almost $270 million for the G5 Sahel Joint Force, a coalition of five West African nations providing border security and counterterrorism operations in the Sahel. The EU has also initiated the Partnership for Stability and Security in the Sahel initiative to assess the security sector in West African countries and coordinate donor funding to fulfill their needs.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  Under Slovakia as the 2019 Chair in Office, the OSCE approach to counterterrorism focused on security measures to prevent, interdict, and prosecute terrorists with respect for the rule of law; promoting a whole-of-society approach with close engagement with civil society and the private sector; using referral mechanisms and pre-criminal interventions to prevent terrorist radicalization and recruitment; emphasizing rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders; and ensuring the protection of human rights.  Slovakia underscored this approach during the annual OSCE-wide 2019 Conference on Counterterrorism in Bratislava, March 25-26.  At the conference, the United States sponsored a side event focused on Countering the Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes.  This event opened with remarks on the U.S. approach of taking appropriate law enforcement action against criminal activities online and working through a “whole of government” approach to strengthen and expand ongoing voluntary collaboration with private sector technology companies to address online terrorist content.  Panelists from the Swiss government, Facebook, Google, and UN‑affiliated Tech against Terrorism discussed the need to counter the ability of terrorists to recruit and radicalize or inspire others online using a broad set of tools and for a comprehensive approach to counter the hateful terrorist narratives they continue to espouse and promote.  On October 31 and November 1, the OSCE conducted a seminar on the role of passenger data exchange in counterterrorism and border security, with participation by U.S. CBP.  In 2019, the United States continued to support the OSCE’s Leaders against Intolerance and Violent Extremism program to empower local networks in Southeastern Europe and strengthen home-grown civil society CVE work.  OSCE staff members actively participated in global and regional efforts supported by the United States through the IIJ and GCTF.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  The NATO Leaders Meeting in December marked the Alliance’s 70th anniversary and highlighted how NATO continues to enhance the Alliance’s counterterrorism efforts.  NATO is a member of the Defeat-ISIS Coalition and in 2019 continued its missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.  In February, NATO defense ministers endorsed a framework to counter terrorist misuse of drones and support the development of Allied capabilities.  Defense ministers also endorsed the “Non-binding Guidelines for Enhanced Civil-military Cooperation to Deal with the Consequences of Large-scale Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear Events Associated with Terrorist Attacks.”  These guidelines will help Allies and partners strengthen national resilience. In December, NATO leaders noted an updated Action Plan to enhance NATO’s role in the international community’s fight against terrorism, which supports the Alliance’s efforts to address evolving terrorist threats.

Council of Europe (CoE).  The CoE develops and reinforces legal standards to prevent and suppress acts of terrorism.  It works to help member states fight terrorism more effectively by strengthening and improving their national legislation, as well as facilitating international cooperation while respecting human rights and in full respect of the rule of law.  The United States participates in the CoE as an observer. The CoE’s counterterrorism priorities, as established in its current 2018-2022 Strategy, include preventing terrorism through criminal law and law enforcement measures, ensuring terrorist offences are investigated in the most efficient and quickest possible manner, and protecting persons against terrorism.  The CoE continued to operate its 24/7 Network of Contact Points on Foreign Terrorist Fighters, a voluntary network that connects relevant authorities to counterparts for sharing threat information.  The CoE also established in 2019 the Network of Contact Points for the Exchange of Information regarding the Legal Standing of Victims of Terrorism, which helps terrorism victims access other countries criminal justice systems. The United States joined both networks in 2019.  The CoE Committee on Counter-Terrorism, the key coordinating body for the CoE activities to combat terrorism, held plenary meetings in May and November.  The CoE coordinates with countries and other multilateral organizations and entities such as the UN, OSCE, Organization of American States (OAS), and the EU.

Group of Seven (G-7).  France served as the 2019 G-7 President and focused its counterterrorism-related discussions on the G-7 Foreign and Security Ministerial commitments made in Spring 2019, which included:  illicit trafficking in the Sahel region; FTFs; terrorist financing; terrorist radicalization; use of the Internet for terrorist purposes; aviation security; transnational organized crime; environmental crime; and trafficking in persons.  A G-7 Charter on Digital Cooperation that included countering terrorism online was not passed by consensus support at the G-7 Summit.  France issued the Charter as a non-affiliated document after the Summit.  Within the G-7 Roma-Lyon Group meetings on counterterrorism and combating transnational organized crime, the United States worked with its counterparts to implement the G-7 Ise-Shima Action Plan on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism, including an initiative to generate greater G-7 political and financial support to connect priority countries to INTERPOL’s I-24/7 secure global communications system.  The G-7 Action Plan also promoted reforms of the UN’s counterterrorism architecture and support for greater use of PNR systems, which were reflected in UNSCR 2396.  The United States also sought to advance projects through the Roma-Lyon Group’s expert groups on counterterrorism, transportation security, high-tech crime, migration, criminal legal affairs, and law enforcement.

Group of Twenty (G-20).  Japan served as the 2019 G-20 Chair.  Counterterrorism-related discussions were focused on terrorist use of the internet, culminating in the G‑20 Osaka Leaders’ Statement on Preventing Exploitation of the Internet for Terrorism and Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism, building upon the 2017 G ‑20 Hamburg Statement on this issue.

Organization of American States’ Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (OAS/CICTE).  OAS/CICTE, which has 34 member states and 70 observers, made strides in 2019 across its focus areas:  cybersecurity, border management, preventing the financing of terrorism, preventing the proliferation of WMD, preventing violent extremism, and addressing the FTF phenomenon.  On May 23-24, OAS/CICTE held its 19th Regular Session.  In partnership with Canada as incoming chair, OAS/CICTE focused the meeting on critical infrastructure security and resilience, global and regional cooperation mechanisms, human resilience, countering terrorist narratives, and increasing information sharing.  At the conclusion of the Session, member states committed to consider Chile’s recommendation to create an informal information sharing network to facilitate timely exchange of counterterrorism information. In October, OAS/CICTE formally announced the launch of the Inter-American Network on Counterterrorism with funding support from Chile and the United States.  The Network, the only one of its kind in the Americas, will operate on a 24/7 basis among OAS member states.  By facilitating communication among points of contact designated by each member state, countries of the Western Hemisphere will be able to respond more effectively to terrorist threats.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and the East Asia Summit (EAS).  Counterterrorism activities with the 10-member ASEAN and 27‑member ARF countries included annual meetings on counterterrorism and transnational crime and capacity building through ASEAN-related institutions in 2019.  The United States is leading a three-part ARF workshop series on aviation security, designed to raise awareness of countries’ obligations under UNSCR 2396 and explain helpful tools for implementation.  The first workshop was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in July, and participants discussed aviation security measures and capacity gaps in ARF countries to use and implement API/PNR data and systems.  The ARF also endorsed the U.S.-proposed statement Aviation Partnership: Soaring Ahead Together.  The EAS, which includes the 10 ASEAN members plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States, issued three statements in 2019, one of which had a counterterrorism nexus, the Australia-proposed statement on Countering Transnational Crime.

ASEAN adopted the Bali Work Plan to Prevent and Counter the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism 2019-2025 on November 29.  The objective of this Work Plan is to provide an implementation framework to guide relevant ASEAN Sectoral Bodies/Organs/Entities in carrying out the necessary activities and monitor effectiveness in preventing and countering terrorist radicalization and recruitment.  The United States supported the process of developing the Workplan through technical assistance and consulted with various stakeholders, such as ASEAN sectoral bodies and civil society organizations, to provide input on the Work Plan.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).  APEC updated its comprehensive Consolidated Counter-Terrorism and Secure Trade Strategy in 2019.  The Strategy, adopted in 2011, endorses the principles of security, efficiency, and resilience, and it advocates for risk‑based approaches to security challenges across supply chains, travel, finance, and infrastructure.  Members also focused on furthering the APEC Counter-Terrorism Working Group Strategic Plan 2018-2022, which set priorities in areas such as the evolving threat of FTFs, terrorist financing, border and critical infrastructure security, and information sharing.

The African Union (AU).  There are two main bodies within the AU which lead its counterterrorism efforts:  the Peace and Security Department’s Defense and Security Division, located at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, and the African Center for the Study and Research of Terrorism (CAERT) in Algiers.  In 2019, the AU made CAERT the lead for all the AU’s CVE activity.  CAERT priorities include: 1) building capacity of member states on CT/CVE; 2) developing and/or implementing member state CVE action plans; and 3) enhancing international cooperation to ensure relevant regional approaches are taken fully into account.  In 2019, the United States continued its engagement on shared counterterrorism priorities as part of the United States-African Union Peace and Security Technical Working Group.

Other U.S. engagements with the AU’s Peace Support Operations include:

G-5 Sahel.  Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger formed the G-5 Sahel in 2014 to focus on the four pillars of security, resilience, infrastructure, and governance.  In 2019, the G-5 Sahel Joint Force conducted military operations to disrupt the activities of terrorist operations in trans-border regions of the five member states. Multiple countries, including the United States, France, and the EU have provided or pledged donor support to the G-5 Sahel Joint Force.

The League of Arab States (LAS):  LAS is a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.  Twice a year, LAS meets with member states’ Ministries of Justice and Interior in Tunis, Tunisia.  Counterterrorism efforts are also highlighted in the annual summit in March and in its annual ministerial in September.  In 2019, the Arab League Council of Ministers passed a resolution on counterterrorism efforts, stressing the importance of member states’ implementation of the UN Counterterrorism Strategy, as well as intensifying joint Arab action to address the phenomenon of terrorist fighters returning from areas of conflict and their families.  The resolution also urged its member states to develop appropriate national legislations to prosecute and to punish for the use of forged identity and travel documents to move to conflict zones per national laws.

The United Nations (UN).  Sustained and strategic engagement at the UN on counterterrorism issues is a priority for the United States.  Throughout 2019, the UN remained actively engaged in addressing the evolving threat of terrorism to international peace and security, including through UNSCR 2462 on countering terrorist financing and UNSCR 2482 on addressing the terrorism and organized crime nexus.

Other U.S. engagement with UN actors on counterterrorism included the following:

  • The UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) and Counter‑Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED). The United States supported CTC and CTED efforts to analyze capacity gaps of member states to implement UNSCRs 1373, 1624, 2178, 2396, and other relevant counterterrorism resolutions, and to facilitate training and other technical assistance to UN member states.  In 2019, CTED conducted its first assessment of the United States, which showcased U.S. leadership and good practices on counterterrorism.  A particular focus of CTED’s assessment was to highlight the collection, use, and analysis in the United States of API and PNR data.  CTED’s assessment of these important UNSCR 2396 obligations will help other states to better understand how to adopt and implement these crucial counterterrorism tools to defeat terrorist travel.  CTED also conducted assessments of 16 other countries in 2019, including China in October, to assess their implementation of international counterterrorism obligations.  In 2019, CTED engaged in a range of multilateral, regional, and bilateral activities including regional workshops on incorporating UNSCR 2341 on the protection of critical infrastructure (including commercial facilities and soft targets) from counterterrorism attacks into national counterterrorism strategies.
  • The UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT).  The UNOCT continued to work closely with the 36 UN entities plus INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization through the Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact to ensure the balanced implementation of the four pillars of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy; strengthen the delivery of UN counterterrorism capacity building assistance to member states; and promote and improve visibility, advocacy, and resource mobilization for UN counterterrorism efforts. In 2019, UNOCT hosted a series of regional high-level conferences in Dushanbe, Ulaanbaatar, Nairobi, Minsk, Budapest and Abu Dhabi, to enable member states to exchange expertise and develop partnerships to collectively address a range of critical counterterrorism issues in preparation for the second UN Counterterrorism High Level Week that will be held in June 2020.
  • During 2019, the Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism contributed more than $31 million to fund a range of activities undertaken by the UNOCT, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), UN Mine Action Service, UN Office for Project Services, INTERPOL, and the International Office for Migration, including:

• Supporting global implementation of the UN’s Countering Terrorist Travel Program to help member states utilize API/PNR to defeat terrorist travel;

• Countering IEDs in Somalia;

• Building criminal justice sector capacity to prosecute terrorism crimes in Mali;

• Utilizing battlefield evidence in Niger for terrorism terrorist prosecutions and investigations;

• Building law enforcement capacity to prevent and respond to terrorist crimes in border communities in West Africa;

• Improving aviation security in Bangladesh;

• Building partner nations’ capacity to manage terrorist inmates; and,

• Enhancing connectivity to INTERPOL’s databases in priority countries.

  • The UNSC 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida Sanctions Committee. The United States worked closely with the UN Sanctions Committee and its monitoring team in 2019 by proposing listings, providing amendments, engaging the Committee’s ombudsperson regarding petitions for de-listings, and providing input to the Committee to enhance its procedures and implementation of sanctions measures.  The United States also assisted the monitoring team with information for its research and reports.  In 2019, two groups and four individuals were added to the 1267 Sanctions List, including the designation of ISIS-Khorasan, the first ISIS affiliate ever listed at the UN. One group and eight individuals were de-listed; and one entity and 10 individuals had their existing entries amended during the year.  The total figures on the list are 261 individuals and 84 entities as of December 31.  The Committee also worked to ensure the integrity of the list by conducting regular reviews and by endeavoring to remove those individuals and entities that no longer meet the criteria for listing.
  • The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).  The UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) continued to assist countries seeking to ratify and implement the universal legal instruments against terrorism, and it provided assistance for countering the financing of terrorism in conjunction with the UNODC’s Global Programme Against Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism. The United States supported UNODC/TPB as a counterterrorism assistance implementer, particularly for programming focused on strengthening the criminal justice system’s response to terrorism by member states.  In 2019, the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice adopted a biannual resolution on the UNODC’s mandate to provide counterterrorism technical assistance, which preserved and expanded upon its efforts to prioritize and provide effect capacity building for member states.  The United States continued to support UNODC/TPB programs designed to strengthen the legal regime against terrorism within a rule-of-law framework globally.
  • The UN Development Programme (UNDP).  The UNDP helps countries develop strategies to counter terrorism by deepening research on preventing violent extremism (PVE) in many parts of the world, including Africa and the Middle East. In 2019, UNDP collaborated with UNOCT in information sharing, outreach, and support to the development and implementation of national PVE action plans to member states that requested assistance.  The United States continued to support UNDP’s work and encouraged other like-minded countries to provide voluntary funding to strengthen community-police partnerships in high-risk communities.
  • The UN Security Council (UNSC) 1540 Committee.  The 1540 Committee monitors and facilitates efforts to implement UNSCR 1540 (2004) requirements, which address the nexus of proliferation concerns surrounding chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and their means of delivery on the one hand, and activities by nonstate actors, who wittingly or unwittingly provide WMD-related assistance to terrorist organizations on the other. The Committee’s Group of Experts (GoE) participates in a wide range of multilateral and regional activities designed to facilitate technical assistance to member states when they request it.  Using Office for Disarmament Affairs Trust Fund resources to cover travel expenses, the GoE has also interacted with the OPCW, the IAEA, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, World Customs Organization, INTERPOL, UNODC, the FATF, and other multilateral counterterrorism bodies, as well with individual countries to this end.  The United States is one of eight countries, plus the EU, that have contributed to the 1540 Trust Fund, which is used to support these activities as well as to financially support 1540 regional coordinator positions in the OAS and OSCE.  The United States is working with the EU to co-fund AU 1540 Coordinators, and likewise is in discussions with Northeast Asian partners to support an ASEAN 1540 Coordinator position.  S. funds also continued to be used to conduct projects that assist African, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries in strengthening national 1540 implementation by developing voluntary national implementation plans (NAPs).  Given the key role played by current 1540 Coordinators in GoE-supported peer-to-peer reviews, the United States will continue to promote the idea of establishing additional 1540 Regional Coordinators so as to increase the number and quality of NAPs in the lead-up to an early 2021 UNSCR 1540 Comprehensive Review.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).  In May 2019, ICAO participated in the launch of the UN’s Countering Terrorist Travel Programme at UN Headquarters in New York where Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu emphasized that aviation security and the facilitation of passenger movements are important and reciprocal priorities in air transport, and outlined the advancements that ICAO has made in support of the corresponding obligations and provisions defined in UNSCRs 2178, 2309, 2368, and 2396 in relation to halting the travel of FTFs.  ICAO began drafting PNR Standards and Recommended Practices as called for in UNSCR 2396 (2017), which will assist UN member states to develop capabilities to collect, process and analyze PNR data, and share it with all of their competent national authorities.  In September 2019, ICAO convened its third annual Global Aviation Security Symposium at ICAO Headquarters in Montréal, Canada, which brought together aviation security professionals from around the world to address the threat posed by terrorists targeting civil aviation, by reinforcing, strengthening, and promoting the international framework of aviation security standards.

The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT).  The United States serves as co-chair of GICNT, a voluntary partnership of 89 nations and six international observer organizations committed to strengthening national and global capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to the shared threat of nuclear terrorism.  In 2019 the GICNT conducted eight multilateral activities that improved the plans, policies, procedures, and inter-operability of partner nations in technical areas such as nuclear detection, nuclear forensics, national emergency response frameworks, legal frameworks, and sustainability.  At the 2019 GICNT Plenary meeting, the United States was endorsed as co-chair for an additional four-year term.  In addition to serving as co-chair, the United States provides both financial and human resources to support the initiative’s multilateral undertakings.

Financial Action Task Force (FATF).  The FATF is an inter-governmental body that sets standards and promotes effective implementation of legal, regulatory, and operational measures to combat money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing.  The FATF’s efforts to improve understanding and compliance with global FATF standards are supported by FATF-style regional bodies around the world.  The United States served as president of the FATF from July 2018 to June 2019.  During its presidency, the United States prioritized the FATF’s efforts to counter the financing of terrorism, culminating in the July 2019 publication of Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment Guidance, which aimed to assist countries in assessing terrorist financing risk by providing good practices and information resources based on country‑specific experiences.



Countering terrorist radicalization and recruitment is an essential counterterrorism tool.  Our strategy to defeat terrorism includes efforts to build the capacity of local actors to defeat terrorism at its source.  This is how we define our CVE efforts – protecting the United States, our interests, and our allies by reducing the ability of terrorists to radicalize, recruit, mobilize, and inspire acts of terrorism.  In 2019, through bi-lateral and multilateral engagement, the Bureau of Counterterrorism (CT Bureau) emphasized four key areas in strategy formulation, diplomatic engagement, and foreign assistance programming.  They include:  countering all forms of terrorist ideologies, countering use of the internet for terrorist purposes, rehabilitation and reintegration, and counter-messaging.  The CT Bureau partnered with government officials, community leaders, mental health professionals and social workers, religious figures, and others to build a prevention architecture to counter terrorist radicalization and recruitment.

Countering Terrorist Ideologies

  • The CT Bureau strengthened its efforts to refute the underlying terrorist ideologies of violence and intolerance, aiming to prevent the radicalization and recruitment of potential terrorists. The CT Bureau prioritized activities that counter terrorist ideology by building resilience to terrorist narratives, enhancing the capacity of youth to think critically, and challenging the influence of terrorist ideologues.  These efforts included alternative pathways for those who may be susceptible to radicalization.  The CT Bureau focused its efforts in both source countries, as well as recipient countries of terrorist ideology advocacy.
  • The CT Bureau increased its efforts to combat racially or ethnically motivated terrorism (REMT). REMT, in particular white supremacist terrorism, continues to be a threat to the global community, with violence both on the rise and spreading geographically, as white supremacist and nativist movements and individuals increasingly target immigrants; Jewish, Muslim, and other religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or intersex (LGBTI) individuals; governments; and other perceived enemies.  The CT Bureau is working with our law enforcement and foreign partners to take concrete actions to address this growing threat.

Countering Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes

  • The CT Bureau continued promoting U.S. policy on this issue in bilateral and multilateral engagements. As global attention on how terrorists exploit internet-based platforms continues to grow, the CT Bureau worked to ensure the U.S. response was measured, and in-line with U.S. policy and legal frameworks for internet freedom and freedom of expression.  The United States believes that protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, is an important part of our counterterrorism strategy because increased censorship and other restrictions on human rights can lead to greater instances of terrorist radicalization.  The CT Bureau played a leading role in coordinating and negotiating language that highlighted U.S. policy consistent with our long-standing ideals. While the United States was not in a position to endorse the Christchurch Call to Action for legal and policy reasons, the CT Bureau worked to ensure the U.S. position and general support on the issue was reflected in the G-20 Osaka Leaders’ Statement on Preventing Exploitation of the Internet for Terrorism and Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism and in the G-7 Biarritz Strategy for an Open, Free, and Secure Digital Transformation.  The CT Bureau engaged regularly with technology companies to improve voluntary information sharing, particularly on the presence of FTOs online.  The CT Bureau also engaged regularly with the industry-led Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) and UN-affiliated Tech Against Terrorism, highlighting the U.S. approach in working collaboratively with the private sector to counter the use of the internet for terrorist purposes.

Rehabilitation and Reintegration

  • Rehabilitation and reintegration of former terrorists as well as ISIS-associated family members has become a pressing concern for the global community. The CT Bureau coordinated global engagement on the rehabilitation and reintegration of FTFs and ISIS-associated families repatriated from Syria and Iraq.  The CT Bureau supported the travel of U.S. and international subject matter experts to Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, the Maldives, North Macedonia, and Trinidad and Tobago to share best practices on rehabilitation and reintegration.  These engagements, which emphasized the importance of providing returnees with psychosocial services and involving community-level stakeholders in the reintegration process, led multiple countries to update their approaches to rehabilitation and reintegration, which, in turn, could encourage other nations to agree to repatriate their citizens from Syria and Iraq.


  • The CT Bureau continues to work with the Global Engagement Center’ Resiliency Campaign focused on Iraq, Syria, and Jordan as part of the Defeat-ISIS effort. This campaign focused on four areas: 1) create a local environment inhospitable to ISIS; 2) sustain global support to defeat ISIS; 3) portray ISIS as another failed movement; and 4) reduce ISIS’s ability to disseminate propaganda used to recruit, radicalize, or mobilize supporters.  This campaign brought together elements within the Department of Defense (DoD) to coordinate messaging efforts within specified countries.
  • Through Hedayah, the Abu Dhabi-based CVE Center of Excellence, the CT Bureau staff trained high-level government officials from North Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Albania‎ on developing communication strategies to complement their CVE National Action Plans. Hedayah and the CT Bureau also developed an East Africa “How‑to Guide” for CVE communications that was translated into Somali and Swahili.

International Platforms to Advance CVE

  • In 2019, the CT Bureau maintained robust support for key international platforms that serve to push global CVE initiatives, while sharing the burden of CVE programs with global partners. In the past year, the CT Bureau has helped multilateral institutions raise millions of dollars for local CVE programming in targeted localities.
  • Strong Cities Network (SCN): In 2019, the SCN expanded engagement to Central Asia, with Kazakhstan hosting a regional workshop in Almaty in December.  SCN now has more than 130 members across six continents, including new members such as Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa in Canada.  This year the City Pair program linked German cities with San Diego, just weeks before the tragic attack on a synagogue in in San Diego County, which killed one and injured three.  Officials from San Diego reported that the network they built with partners through the SCN helped them effectively respond to this act of domestic terrorism in the United States.  SCN also partnered with the Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program to bring SCN representatives from Kenya to Washington DC, Pittsburgh, and San Diego.
  • Global Community Engagement Resilience Fund (GCERF): Since its inception in 2004 as the global CVE fund, GCERF has raised more than $85 million from 14 governments. This year, GCERF was able to bring on two new donors – Denmark and Spain. GCERF operated in seven countries (Bangladesh, Mali, Nigeria, Kosovo, Kenya, Philippines, and Tunisia) with expansion approved for Somalia and Sri Lanka.  There were no community-based programs approved for Somalia or Sri Lanka in 2019.  During 2019, GCERF grants have empowered 1.2 million people at risk of recruitment or radicalization directly, and engaged a further 6.2 million people indirectly.
  • Hedayah: Hedayah continued advising and assisting governments and training civil society in CVE strategies and approaches, and providing them new tools.  Hedayah completed and launched two CT Bureau-funded community-oriented policing CVE training guides:  Community-Oriented Policing for CVE Capacity and Creating Positive Policing Narratives for CVE.  The CT Bureau conducted an evaluation of its 2018 prevention through education program in Uganda, which yielded positive evidence regarding teacher’s adoption of good practices in their local communities after their training there.‎ More broadly, the CT Bureau leveraged other U.S. and donor government support for Hedayah programming – including USAID support for CVE ‎communications work in Kenya.‎


As the terrorist threat has evolved and significantly expanded geographically in recent years, it has become clear that mitigating this threat depends on the political will and enhanced capabilities of our partners to counter terrorism.  To succeed over the long term, the United States must have partners who not only prevent, disrupt, and degrade networks militarily or through law enforcement, while comporting with international laws and norms, but also leverage robust civilian capabilities.  The United States needs partners in law enforcement, the justice sector, and corrections who can prevent and disrupt attacks and investigate, arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate terrorists and their facilitation networks.

The United States supports various programs to build the capacity of law enforcement to counter terrorism, including by strengthening the ability of justice and corrections officials to counter terrorism.  The Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism funds and oversees the following capacity building programs:  the Antiterrorism Assistance program, the Countering Terrorism Finance program, Counterterrorism Engagement with Allies, the Terrorist Interdiction Program, and the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund (CTPF).

In FY 2019, CTPF resources allowed the Department of State to significantly expand civilian law enforcement counterterrorism capacity building activities with key partner nations in the Middle East, North Africa and the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, South and Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and other regions to mitigate the threat posed by FTFs, prevent and counter terrorist safe havens and recruitment, and counter Iran-sponsored terrorism.  For further information on these programs, we refer you to the Annual Report on Assistance Related to International Terrorism.


The Department of State’s counterterrorism rewards program, Rewards for Justice (RFJ), was established by the 1984 Act to Combat International Terrorism, Public Law 98-533 (codified at 22 U.S.C. § 2708).  RFJ’s goal is to bring international terrorists to justice and prevent acts of international terrorism against U.S. persons or property.

Under this program, the Secretary of State may authorize rewards for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of anyone who plans, commits, aids, or attempts international terrorist acts against U.S. persons or property; that prevents such acts from occurring in the first place, that leads to the identification or location of a key terrorist leader; or that disrupts terrorism financing.  Pursuant to a 2017 amendment, RFJ also provides rewards for certain information that leads to the disruption of financial mechanisms of persons supporting the North Korean regime or for information that leads to the identification or location or any individual who, acting at the direction or under the control of a foreign government, aids or abets a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Since RFJ’s inception in 1984, the United States has paid more than $150 million to more than 100 people who provided actionable information that put terrorists behind bars or prevented acts of international terrorism worldwide.

In 2019, the RFJ program announced the following reward offers for information:

  • February 19. Reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the disruption of financial mechanisms of any person or entity engaged in actions that support the illicit activities of the North Korean Government.
  • February 19. Reward of up to $5 million for information that leads to the identification or location of any person who aids or abets a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act while acting at the direction or control of the North Korean regime.
  • February 28. Reward of up to $1 million for information leading to the identification or location in any country of al-Qa’ida key leader Hamza bin Laden.
  • April 22. Reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the disruption of the financial mechanisms of the global terrorist organization Lebanese Hizballah.
  • July 19. Reward of up to $7 million for information leading to the identification or location of Hizballah key leader Salman Raouf Salman, also known as Samuel Salman El Reda.
  • July 30. Reward of up to $5 million for information on ISIS kidnapping networks responsible for kidnapping five Christian clerics, Maher Mahfouz, Michael Kayyal, Gregorios Ibrahim, Bolous Yazigi, and Paolo Dall’Oglio, in 2013.
  • August 21. Reward of up to $5 million each for information leading to the identification or location of key ISIS leaders Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla, Sami Jasim Muhammad al-Jaburi, and Mu’taz Numa ‘Abd Nayif Najm al-Jaburi.
  • September 4. Reward of up to $15 million for information leading to the disruption of the financial mechanisms of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its branches, including the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF).
  • September 12. Reward of up to $5 million each for information leading to the identification or location of senior Hurras al-Din leaders Faruq al-Suri, Abu ‘Abd al‑Karim al-Masri, and Sami al-Uraydi.
  • October 4. Reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the identification or location of Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS).  ISIS-GS claimed responsibility for the October 2017 “Tongo Tongo” ambush of a joint U.S.-Nigerien patrol in Niger that led to the deaths of four U.S. soldiers.
  • October 4. Reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of any individual who committed, conspired to commit, or aided or abetted in the commission of the 2017 ambush in Niger.
  • November 4. Reward of up to $20 million for information leading to the safe location, recovery, and return of retired FBI Special Agent Robert Levinson, who was kidnapped by the Iranian regime.
  • November 7. Reward of up to $6 million for information on Sa’ad bin Atef al-Awlaki, a Yemeni national and emir of Shabwah in Yemen.
  • November 7. Reward of up to $4 million for information leading to the identification or location of Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al-Qosi, a Sudanese national who for decades has supported al-Qa’ida and its factions.
  • December 5. As part of its reward offer for information leading to the disruption of the financial mechanisms of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice program requested information on the activities, networks, and associates of Abdul Reza Shahla’i, a Sana’a, Yemen-based high ranking commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force (IRGC-QF).


The President announced a new South Asia strategy on August 21, 2017, emphasizing Pakistan’s important role with respect to regional security and the need for Pakistan to address the threat posed by terrorist groups operating within its territory.  Counterterrorism cooperation between the United States and Pakistan continued with the aim of defeating ISIS-K and TTP.

In January 2018, the U.S. government suspended most of its security assistance to Pakistan over the government’s failure to adequately address the threat posed by militant and terrorist groups operating on Pakistani soil. That suspension remained in effect throughout 2019.

A recalibration of our civilian assistance portfolio was implemented in 2019 to target a narrower set of priority areas:  people-to-people exchanges, law enforcement and counterterrorism cooperation, stabilization for the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, fostering trade and economic growth, supporting civil society, and helping treat polio and other infectious diseases.

U.S. support for civilian law enforcement and rule of law helped Pakistan provide security and justice for Pakistani citizens, and disrupt transnational organized crime and terrorism networks that operated within Pakistan’s borders.

Account FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019
Total Bilateral Foreign Assistance 266.3 73.8 109.4
Economic Support Fund 200.0 48.0 62.0
Global Health Programs 22.5 0.0 0.0
Intl. Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement 38.0 21.0 40.0
Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining 1.0 1.8 1.8
Foreign Military Financing 0.0 0.0 0.0
International Military Education and Training 4.8 0.5 3.5
Food for Peace Title II .04 2.5 2.5

*Figures in millions, US $


Countering Violent Extremism (CVE).  In 2019, Saudi Arabia continued to identify counterterrorism as one of the nation’s top security policy priorities.  Saudi authorities worked closely with the United States to implement counterterrorism commitments and to develop new capabilities to “monitor and counter extremist messaging.”  Saudi officials remain eager to enhance defense and security cooperation and expand engagement with the United States, including on CVE issues.  Regular high-level consultations and cooperation with the United States played a crucial role in the Saudi Arabian government’s (SAG) ability to manage domestic and regional terrorism threats.  Saudi Arabia maintained adequate legal frameworks, security forces, and institutional preparedness to combat “extremist threats.”  Attacks by Iran and groups it sponsors or supports on Saudi Arabia, including Iranian attacks on Aramco oil processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais on September 14, 2019, spurred Saudi efforts to defend its territory against Iranian‑backed terrorism.  Saudi Arabia remained a regional leader in countering terrorist financing, leading efforts within the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center on anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing (AML-CFT) measures.

On the multilateral front, Saudi Arabia worked closely on capacity building efforts to increase regional cooperation, minimize duplication of efforts, enhance information sharing, and address border security gaps.  SAG leadership worked to advance counterterrorism cooperation with Muslim-majority states, including through the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition.  Saudi Arabia participated actively in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and provided significant support in facilitating U.S. military operations in the region.

To promote a more comprehensive, collaborative, and proactive approach to CVE, Saudi activities focused on identifying pathways to terrorist radicalization and recruitment; and countering these by government messaging that emphasized nationalism, rejected intolerant ideologies, including those based on religious interpretations, and cultivated appreciation for Saudi culture and heritage as the basis for national identity.  Saudi Arabia’s ideological approach to countering terrorist propaganda also included family outreach initiatives; integration of gender considerations in CVE work; and public messaging campaigns to amplify moderate voices in mainstream media, mosques, Islamic organizations, community centers, and prisons, to curb the appeal of “radical  ideology” and to counter  “extremist messages.”  Security authorities continued to employ the Mohammed bin Naif Center for Care and Rehabilitation (or “MbN Center”) to deprogram, monitor, and rehabilitate former Saudi terrorists or foreign fighters.

The government also encouraged inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogue through religious conferences and visits that brought Saudi religious scholars together with their counterparts from other faiths to promote dialogue and tolerance across world faiths.  Saudi Arabia has continued to remove hateful or inflammatory content from public school textbooks, though this project remains incomplete, and is encouraging public school teachers to integrate CVE considerations in their instruction.  The USG continues to work with Saudi authorities to eliminate language that promotes discrimination, intolerance, or violence from textbooks and other government publications.


This section is provided by the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM).

We refer you to   for information on USAGM’s outreach to foreign Muslim audiences.


The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs’ visa policies and procedures have two fundamental missions:  protecting national security by helping secure U.S. borders against actual or potential threats, while facilitating legitimate travel and international exchange.  Focusing on these two missions both safeguards our nation’s borders and ensures timely adjudications of visa applications for individuals seeking to participate in visitor exchange programs.

Visa applicants are subject to a robust interagency screening process that draws on biographic and biometric data.  Applications may be refused because they require further interagency screening and vetting after the interview.  Because of this, program sponsors and applicants should coordinate to initiate visa applications well in advance of their planned travel.  We advise applicants to obtain passports immediately and visit for instructions on applying for U.S. visas.


USAID provided the following information about their basic education programs in Muslim‑majority countries.

In fiscal year (FY) 2019, USAID allocated $329.5 million for basic education in countries with large Muslim populations.  Estimated amounts for each region were:

  • Asia: $50.8 million was allocated to Bangladesh, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Philippines (Mindanao), and Tajikistan.  An additional $31 million was allocated to Afghanistan and $10 million was allocated to Pakistan.
  • Middle East and North Africa: $149.75 million was allocated to Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, and Yemen.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: $85.9 million was allocated to Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Somalia.


Afghanistan:  In 2019, USAID’s Increasing Access to Basic Education and Gender Equality activity increased learning opportunities by maintaining 4,789 classes and transitioning 57,260 students (49 percent girls) to government schools.  USAID also promoted girls’ education through a $25 million pledge to the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development Girls’ Education Challenge.

USAID’s $69.5 million Afghan Children Read (ACR) activity built the capacity of the Ministry of Education (MoE) to provide evidence-based early grade reading programs in Dari and Pashto for Grades 1-3.  ACR reached 151,615 students (72,320 female) and 2,218 teachers (1,236 female).  ACR distributed 674,467 teaching and learning materials to students and 960,008 supplementary reading materials to schools.  USAID’s Strengthening Education in Afghanistan II activity developed institutional capacities, policies, and guidelines for the purpose of establishing a regulatory environment for private sector schools.  Under the Capacity Building activity, USAID supported the MoE by building capacity to increase transparency and accountability of national and subnational systems, policies, and procedures.  USAID contributed $100 million to the Education Quality Reform Activity in Afghanistan pledge as part of the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund and built six new schools in 2019.

Bangladesh:  The USAID/Bangladesh basic education program aimed to increase access to education and improve reading skills for children in lower primary grades.  In FY 2019, USAID’s Innovation for Improving Early Grade Reading Activity supported 17 urban districts across the country.  As a result, 66 percent of students who completed Grade 2 demonstrated the ability to read with full comprehension compared to 28 percent of students in non-intervention schools.  USAID also partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide teaching and learning materials to 146 schools in Cox’s Bazar, enabling 30,070 pupils (15,350 girls and 14,720 boys) from pre-primary grades to Grade 3 to directly benefit from early grade reading programs.

Kazakhstan:  Basic education is a top priority for the Government of Kazakhstan and USAID is working to support Kazakhstani schools and teachers as they look to increase English language programs as part of the new trilingual education system.  USAID works with teachers and students from schools in Kazakhstan to provide students higher quality English language and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instruction based on Western best practices and innovation.  By providing improved English language instruction, USAID is helping students achieve greater English language proficiency and other skills that will help them find more opportunities for higher education, find gainful employment, and contribute to society.

Kyrgyz Republic:  The USAID/Kyrgyzstan basic education program, Time to Read (TTR), continued to focus on improving children’s reading skills.  Through the TTR, USAID employed an evidence-based approach grounded in establishing reading curriculum standards, strengthening teachers’ instructional practices through in-service and pre-service training.  In 2019 USAID distributed 9,095 copies of 10 training modules in Russian and Kyrgyz to teachers, Instructional Support Team members and master trainers.  The distribution of 188,848 copies of flashcard sets equipped teachers in 900 schools with teaching aides. USAID also published and distributed 488,725 copies of leveled supplementary reading materials, and 910 copies of a manual on Professional Learning Circles.  The publishers’ capacity to write grade-appropriate, gender-appropriate, and context-sensitive books that meet leveling criteria has been strengthened through a series of workshops with local authors and the development of a children’s book development manual.

USAID also launched a new inclusive education activity to improve education among children with disabilities and ethnic minorities who speak minority languages.  Ten target schools with 4,222 primary grade students were selected to be a part of the effort to bring students with disabilities into public schools.  For the multilingual education component, the project identified 38 schools with 15,342 primary grade students.  Two packages of training materials for the pilot schools were developed by a group of experts and training of school teachers and administrators began.

Pakistan:  In Pakistan, USAID activities expanded access to quality basic education for all.  The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Reconstruction Program completed construction and rehabilitation of 12 schools.  The Pakistan Transition Initiative, a small grants program, rehabilitated 14 schools in Federally Administered Tribal Areas/Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the aftermath of the 2016 earthquake.  The Sindh Basic Education Program (SBEP) includes two major components:  a school construction activity and the Sindh Community Mobilization Program.  The SBEP school construction component, a government‑to‑government (G2G) school construction activity, achieved its target of constructing 28 schools in FY 2019, bringing the total number of newly constructed schools to 68.

The Pakistan Reading Project (PRP) provided institutional support to over 27,900 classrooms for early grade reading instruction and 110 colleges and universities to deliver associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in teaching, producing more than 1,000 graduates in 2019.  PRP created and distributed over 1.5 million student learning materials and teacher instructional materials in local languages and trained more than 1,617 administrators and education officials and 2,600 new teachers in instructional techniques, effectively boosting the reading skills of over 177,107 children.  Additionally, PRP supported 452 parent-teacher associations and other community-based school governance structures engaged in primary or secondary education.

Philippines:  In 2019, USAID’s Education Governance Effectiveness (EdGE) activity reached 92,068 primary-level learners, 42,548 of whom participated in EdGE reading programs.  A total of 1,690 primary school educators completed professional development activities on executing evidence-based reading instruction.  More than 1,832 school administrators completed professional development activities, and 593 Parent Teacher Associations or community-based school governance structures benefitted from the activity.  EdGE also delivered 17,307 textbooks and other teaching and learning materials.

Tajikistan:  USAID/Tajikistan continued to support education programs by supporting revisions of obsolete Soviet training practices.  The five-year Read with Me project reached more than 265,312 students in 1,964 schools, representing about 40 percent of primary schools nationwide. Given that teachers are the single most influential force for increasing equity, access, and quality in education, USAID education programming in Tajikistan places a high priority on teachers’ professional development.  Read with Me provided 72 hours of training to 9,652 teachers, who then received a formal certification from the Republic Teacher Training Institute.  In addition, the project provided 6,149 supplementary teaching materials for trained educators at the national, regional, and local levels for Tajik and Russian language schools.

A Multi-Input Area Development Financing Facility for Tajikistan partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation implemented an approach called Relevance Pedagogy in select schools. Education interventions in 96 schools provided mentoring for more than 1,000 teachers and 141 administrators, benefiting more than 12,000 learners.

Uzbekistan:  The recently awarded Uzbekistan Education Activity will develop, test, implement, and evaluate effective and scalable education reforms that improve learning outcomes for Uzbek public school studs throughout the country.  To achieve this, the activity will work in close coordination with the Ministry of Public Education to amplify its ability to transform the way schools are managed, teachers are trained, instruction is delivered, and learning materials (traditional and information and communication technology) are developed and used. The activity will also develop methods and strategies to increase transparency and accountability in schools and improve data collection and resource allocation as well as school management and service delivery.


Egypt:  USAID has been an important partner in advancing the Government of Egypt’s education reform efforts through the Early Grade Learning government-to-government activity that supports reading instruction in Grades 1-3 and remedial reading instruction in Grades 4-9 for students who are not reading at grade level.  In FY 2019, USAID supported the Ministry of Education and Technical Education by training 114,999 Grade 1-3 teachers nationwide in reading instruction to build a solid foundation for lifelong learning for students across Egypt.  USAID also provides critical support to basic education in community schools in the most marginalized rural communities in Egypt through the Literate Village activity.  This activity uses an innovative intergenerational model to teach literacy to mothers and their primary school-aged children in community schools in three rural governorates in Egypt:  Assiut, Beheira, and Sohag. In FY 2019, USAID’s community school literacy activity provided reading instruction to 29,526 (10,593 boys and 18,933 girls) primary school learners and trained 1,597 (nine men and 1,588 women) primary school teachers on better methods of instruction in community schools.  Literate Village also enrolled 18,309 women in literacy classes and established 269 Parent Teacher Associations to support community engagement in primary education.

Jordan:  In FY 2019, USAID constructed and repaired 1,291 classrooms, benefiting 30,473 students nationwide, and engaged local communities, and strengthened the capacity of the central ministries, governorates, and field directorates to better plan, manage, and maintain their schools.

USAID continued to support the Jordan Compact Education Fund, a multi-donor funding mechanism that allowed 134,121 Syrian children to enroll in the formal education system and 2,969 previously out-of-school students to enroll in the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) “catch‑up” program, providing them the opportunity to gain the knowledge and accreditation needed to enroll in the public school system.  The initial focus of the fund was to address an acute need; but in its final year, donors and the MoE have been working to ensure activities are included in the Ministry’s ongoing strategy.  In FY 2019, USAID’s Non-Formal Education activity also provided a second chance to 447 students who had dropped out to re-enroll in school or attend vocational training.  Additionally, USAID’s Cultivating Inclusive and Supportive Learning Environments activity ensured that 1,250 MoE teachers gained professional development skills to address the psychosocial support needs of 38,021 students nationwide.

USAID’s Early Grade Reading and Mathematics Initiative continued efforts to improve literacy and numeracy for kindergarten through Grade 3 students, reaching 387,977 learners reading at the primary level with U.S. government assistance.

Lebanon:   In 2019 through the Quality Instruction Towards Access and Basic Education Improvement (QITABI) activity, USAID provided Arabic reading instruction training and technology skills training to over 900 teachers and coaches benefiting over 128,000 students.  In May 2019, USAID conducted an assessment of 6,168 students that revealed 84.1 percent of them improved by at least one reading level.  Activities under QITABI aim to reduce the barriers to schooling for vulnerable Lebanese and non-Lebanese children by providing transportation solutions to 100 schools nationwide.  USAID procured 100 buses and started their delivery to 100 public schools at the end of September 2018.  In FY 2019, USAID completed the delivery of the buses and provided technical training to the assigned drivers and school principals on bus operations and child and road safety.  The bus program has benefited 1,700 public school students, including refugees.

Morocco:  In FY 2019, the Reading for Success (RFS) project continued enhancing educational attainment for Moroccan children at the primary level.  The project supports the Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research (MoE) in its reform initiative to improve access to quality education for all children.  USAID’s RFS project places a great focus on gender equity, inclusiveness, and capacity development throughout all its activities.  To improve the learning attainment of children in primary schools, USAID continues to implement the National Program for Reading (NPR), which was launched in May 2017.  NPR supports MoE efforts to enhance educational attainment for Moroccan children at the primary level by improving Arabic reading instruction.  USAID develops the capacity of the MoE to design, implement, and assess evidence-based instruction approaches that respond to the needs of children in Morocco.

USAID also signed a Memorandum of Intent with the MoE, Lalla Asmaa Foundation, and University Mohamed V to develop and implement a teacher training program for deaf education.  This activity’s purpose is to establish a national deaf education teacher preparation and professional development program that is embedded in a Moroccan higher education institution and the teacher training institutes.

Syria:  FY 2019 education funding, managed by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), provided remedial education and psychosocial support for school-aged children deprived of education under ISIS rule, trained teachers, and provided school books. NEA also supported school winterization and rehabilitation to improve the learning environment and increase student safety.

Yemen:   In 2019, USAID’s school feeding project, implemented by the World Food Program, reached 448,129 students across the country. With the provision of a daily nutritious snack, this activity helped bring children, who had previously stopped schooling, back to school. The activity also resulted in increased attendance rates.  A by-product of the activity was its positive impact on the local economy:  60 percent of the commodities used for the school‑feeding program were sourced locally.

USAID’s education projects with International Rescue Committee and Save the Children provided access to safe and quality education to out of school children ages 6-14 in Aden, Lahj, Amran, Sana’a, Hodeidah, and Al Dhale’e governorates.  In the first year of implementation, 2,234 learners were reached with alternative education methods.  The projects also ensured family and community participation in the education of the learners, with 32 community governance structures reached in FY 2019.  Engagement with parents and affected communities ensured local leadership and management of non-formal education centers, which is critical to increase enrollment and sustain access to safe learning spaces.

During the reporting period, USAID supported UNICEF to provide equitable access to safe, inclusive and equipped learning spaces and child protection through schools.  Since the start of the project, USAID met the educational needs of 1,203,381 conflict-affected children.  This reporting period, a total of 133,879 children, (53 percent of whom are girls) were reached with Back to School campaigns, school bag kits, refurbished and safer schools, and psychosocial support.


Burkina Faso:  FY 2019 funding is being used to support Education Cannot Wait (ECW) activities being implemented by UNICEF.  ECW is focused on implementing multi-year resilience plans to address challenges to education as a result of conflict.

Djibouti:  In 2019, the Djibouti Early Grade Reading Activity printed 17,000 copies of student textbooks and workbooks for the 2019-20 academic year.  To support student instruction, the activity distributed 352 teacher guides, big books (pedagogical materials), and posters.  In addition, 70 pedagogic advisors and inspectors and 214 teachers received training on the use of the new materials.

Mali:  In 2019, USAID Mali, through the Selective Integrated Reading Activity (SIRA), implemented the bilingual balanced literacy approach to reading instruction in four regions (Bamako, Segou, Koulikoro and Sikasso), ensuring improved reading outcomes for 264,169 first and second grade learners.  SIRA provided training and coaching to 325 pedagogical counselors, 7,239 first grade and second grade teachers and 3,986 school directors on the balanced literacy approach, gender equitable teaching practices, and classroom management.  Support has been provided to School Management Committees, Parent-Teacher Associations, education commissions and Mothers’ Associations.  Monitoring student attendance and performance to increase reading outcomes was also a part of FY 2019 activities.  SIRA trained 304 community development agents to mobilize communities and parents to encourage reading and distributed home reading kits to 264,169 parents.  SIRA established 124 community libraries through private and public partnerships and supported a local radio campaign with messages on reading, mother tongue instruction, and girls’ education.

The Education Recovery Support Activity (ERSA) supported 35 youth clubs in Gao and Menaka, which carried out community service projects.  The process of designing and implementing community service projects offered youth clubs opportunities to learn about project design and management.  The community service projects responded to the actual needs and concerns of their respective communities and the community development agent from the implementing partner facilitated a participatory process, including: 1) the assessment of community needs by the youth clubs; 2) the involvement of stakeholders including youth, community leaders, members of youth associations and other community members in the project’s design; and 3) the monitoring of the community service projects.  The financial contributions of ERSA to the community service projects (on average $700 per village) were used to purchase materials and equipment not available in the community.  The projects had to meet requirements for conflict-sensitivity, gender equity, and environmental protection.

Through the Girls Leadership and Empowerment through Education (GLEE) activity, USAID Mali continued to support 60,000 adolescent girls (aged 10-18 years) in school by supporting their retention and the transition from primary to lower secondary school.  Support included paying school fees, purchasing bicycles for very vulnerable lower secondary school girls, distributing uniforms, providing solar energy infrastructure for schools, building latrines for girls, etc.  GLEE also supported 136 accelerated learning centers and implemented activities that target financial and socio-cultural barriers by improving safety in schools and communities. Eight hundred and sixteen school educators and 544 education administrators/officials were trained on gender equality.

The project also provided in-kind grants to the Comiteacute de Gestion Scolaire to reduce barriers to girls’ access to school for 19,751 adolescent girls in primary and secondary school in the regions of Kayes and Mopti.

Niger:  The USAID-funded Niger Education and Community Strengthening (NECS) activity was a nationwide pilot program that coupled targeted community mobilization with comprehensive early grade reading interventions for boys and girls in Grades 1-2.  The seven‑year activity operated in 183 primary schools in all of Niger’s eight geographic regions. The activity ended on September 30, 2019.  The NECS activity improved reading instruction and learning by developing Grade 1-2 curriculum materials, including student manuals and teacher guides, and conducting targeted training for teachers and school directors.  Student performance was assessed through continuous and summative early grade reading assessments (EGRA).  The most recent EGRA was conducted in May 2019, and at the Ministry’s request, two types of schools were compared:  the schools participating in the NECS activity, and the Ministry’s “Reform Schools.”  The latter are schools that are piloting the Ministry’s own reading curriculum, among other education reforms.  Preliminary results indicate that the NECS activity schools outperformed the Ministry’s pilot schools, both in Grade 1-2 reading.

Nigeria:  During FY 2019, USAID launched multiple activities and also continued its support to state governments in northern Nigeria to increase access to quality learning and improve the reading skills of school-aged children.  In Bauchi and Sokoto states, the Northern Education Initiative Plus activity produced and distributed three million textbooks and teachers’ manuals to formal schools and National Foreign Language Centers (NFLC) in 10 local government areas of each state.  USAID also helped 68,000 formerly out-of-school children qualify for mainstreaming into formal schools through a basic literacy program administered in 1,800 NFLCs.  Additionally, more than 642,000 children in formal schools are currently learning to read, 20 percent more than anticipated for this period.  This would be impossible without the 9,409 teachers and learning facilitators USAID trained on best practices for reading instruction, leading to significant drops in the number of children unable to read a single word.

In Borno and Yobe states, the new Addressing Education in North East Nigeria (AENN) activity seeks to respond to the immediate educational needs of 302,500 children affected by crisis and conflict through safe non-formal and formal education (over the life of the project), while laying a foundation for the sustainable improvement of education systems at the community and government levels.  During FY 2019, the activity reached 50,201 male and 52,408 female students.  AENN works to improve the capacity of education authorities to plan, manage, and oversee education services that are responsive to the evolving needs of the local context.  This includes the collection and use of data for effective decision making and coordination among education partners in the harmonization of teaching and learning materials used in NFLCs.  To address the post-conflict educational needs of internally displaced children in Borno State, USAID awarded the University of Maiduguri (UoM) a grant to design and implement activities to counter violent extremism in Borno State, including training in trauma management and psychosocial counseling for education stakeholders, curriculum development for a CVE diploma, and establishing a Learning Resources Development Group (LRDG). The LRDG will support the production and translation of teaching and learning materials for formal and non‑formal schools that are culturally sensitive, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of children affected by insecurity and displacement.  Materials will incorporate themes around conflict mitigation, diffusing tensions in the classroom, and supporting instruction for a multilingual environment.  Borno state and UoM will work to increase resilience through the development of a conflict-sensitive program for basic and non-formal education.

Senegal:  In close partnership with the Ministry of Education (MoE), USAID continued to roll out Lecture Pour Tous (LPT)/Reading for All, a five-year, $71 million activity using local languages (Wolof, Pulaar, and Sereer) as the medium of reading instruction.  LPT increases the availability and use of quality learning materials, improves teacher skills and behaviors, and enhances parental and community support in over 4,000 schools.  In FY 2019, LPT covered every school in half the country’s regions.  Overall, LPT trained 4,916 teachers and 2,459 principals in new teaching and reading methods.  In collaboration with the MoE, USAID adapted materials from the national curriculum, then printed and distributed 673,356 teaching and learning materials to teachers and principals officially endorsed by the MoE.  At the 2019 midline, the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) demonstrated that students are now proficient in most basic early grade reading skills.  Specifically, more than 70 percent of Grade 2 students meet expectations for listening comprehension, while 60 percent meet expectations for letter knowledge benchmarks compared with almost zero at the beginning of the activity.

USAID’s G2G reading activity mirrors the LPT approach in the northern Saint-Louis region.  Working through MoE systems, it reached over 700 schools, 26 inspectors, 499 principals, 532 teachers, and 24,422 students.  It helped the MoE to procure, print, and distribute 71,223 reading materials, provided teacher training and materials, conducted early grade reading assessments, and trained and supervised teachers in dynamic teaching methodologies and approaches.

As a result of the Passerelles activity, 1,675 children benefited from learning opportunities under the care of 27 volunteer educators, who were recruited and trained on the MoE-approved curriculum.  For vocational training, Passerelles worked in collaboration with other USAID implementing partners to train 57 young people in gardening, poultry farming, and farm product processing.  Additional activities focused on eight middle schools and 49 elementary schools. Over 600 teachers and principals were trained on safe learning environments, school gender‑based violence prevention, and inclusive education.  Finally, 15 facilitators were trained on remediation methodologies and are now mentoring 375 students to improve their performance in reading and mathematics.

Somalia:  In FY 2019, the Alternative Basic Education Activity (ABE), in its penultimate year of implementation, enrolled 623 boys, for a cumulative total of 20,107 (11,460 boys, 8,647 girls) students.  The 96 ABE schools are in agro-pastoralist and pastoralist communities in Jubaland and Southwest States, specifically, Gedo, Bakool, and Bay regions acutely affected by recent drought, and then floods, and where children are particularly vulnerable to al-Shabaab recruitment efforts.  Other notable achievements include the distribution of 21,147, textbooks and teaching and learning materials, and the training of 447 community teachers.

ABE trained 672 community education committee (CEC) members (288 females) from all 96 schools in a six-day course on school management and resource mobilization.  Evidence suggests that supported CECs are having a positive influence on parents and other community members, who are now volunteering to bring water to school among other activities.  ABE also supported a 10-day training in different locations for 3,072 ABE learners from all 96 Child-to-Child clubs (each club consists of 32 members) on life and soft skills.  ABE’s incorporation of Child-to-Child clubs has been effective in helping restore the emotional and psychosocial needs of affected children and their families, and empowering children to speak out for their rights.

USAID also provided direct support to the Ministry of Education, embedding a non-formal technical advisor in the Federal Ministry of Education, Culture and Higher Education.  This advisor helped the Ministry develop its Non-Formal Education policy framework via Federal member state consultations in Jubaland, South West, Galmudug, and Hirshabelle, plus Banadir Regional Authority.  ABE partnered with Media INK to create a pilot radio program (12 weekly episodes of 20 minutes in duration) in order to reinforce classroom-based instruction. The episodes will air on select radio stations in 2020 including Radio Kismayo, Radio South West State, Radio Xudur, and Radio Gedo.  After each radio show airs, audience feedback will be collected and shared.  Radio programming has been shown by USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives stabilization program to be a promising medium to counter Al-Shabaab narratives where government reach is especially limited.


We refer you to  and  for information on USAID’s economic reform programs.

Designations of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) expose and isolate the designated terrorist organizations, deny them access to the U.S. financial system, and create significant criminal and immigration consequences for their members and supporters.  Moreover, designations can assist or complement the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and governments.

In 2019, the Department of State designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including its Qods Force (IRGC-QF), as an FTO.  The State Department also amended the designation of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to include the aliases Amaq News Agency and Al Hayat Media Center.  The State Department amended the designation of Jundallah to add Jaysh al-Adl (and variants thereof) as the group’s primary name.  In the course of reviewing and maintaining the designation of the al-Mulathamun Battalion, the State Department concluded that the pre-existing alias al-Murabitoun should be used as the group’s primary name.

Legal Criteria for Designation under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as Amended:

  1. It must be a foreign organization.
  1. The organization must engage in terrorist activity, as defined in section 212 (a)(3)(B) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(B)), or terrorism, as defined in section 140(d)(2) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1988 and 1989 (22 U.S.C.  § 2656f(d)(2)), or retain the capability and intent to engage in terrorist activity or terrorism.
  1. The organization’s terrorist activity or terrorism must threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security (national defense, foreign relations, or the economic interests) of the United States.

U.S. Government Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations

Abdallah Azzam Brigades (AAB)
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB)
Al-Ashtar Brigades (AAB)
Ansar al-Dine (AAD)
Ansar al-Islam (AAI)
Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi (AAS-B)
Ansar al-Shari’a in Darnah (AAS-D)
Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia (AAS-T)
Army of Islam (AOI)
Asbat al-Ansar (AAA)
Aum Shinrikyo (AUM)
Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
Boko Haram (BH)
Communist Party of Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA)
Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA)
Gama’a al-Islamiyya (IG)
Haqqani Network (HQN)
Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami (HUJI)
Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B)
Harakat ul-Mujahideen (HUM)
Hizbul Mujahedeen (HM)
Indian Mujahedeen (IM)
Islamic Jihad Union (IJU)
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
ISIS-Greater Sahara
Islamic State’s Khorasan Province (ISIS-K)
ISIS Sinai Province (ISIS-SP)
ISIS-West Africa
Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM)
Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis-Sudan (Ansaru)
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)
Jaysh Rijal Al-Tariq Al-Naqshabandi (JRTN)
Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT)
Jemaah Islamiya (JI)
Jaysh al-Adl
Kahane Chai
Kata’ib Hizballah (KH)
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)
Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT)
Lashkar i Jhangvi (LJ)
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC)
National Liberation Army (ELN)
Al-Nusrah Front (ANF)
Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
Palestine Liberation Front–Abu Abbas Faction (PLF)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)
Al-Qa’ida (AQ)
Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
Al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS)
Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)
Revolutionary Struggle (RS)
Al-Shabaab (AS)
Shining Path (SL)
Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP)


Also known as (aka) Abdullah Azzam Brigades; Ziyad al-Jarrah Battalions of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades; Yusuf al-‘Uyayri Battalions of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades; Marwan Hadid Brigades; Marwan Hadid Brigade

Description:  Designated as an FTO on May 30, 2012, the Abdallah Azzam Brigades (AAB) formally announced its establishment in a July 2009 video statement claiming responsibility for a February 2009 rocket attack against Israel.  The Lebanon-based group’s full name is Ziyad al‑Jarrah Battalions of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades, named after Lebanese citizen Ziad al Jarrah, one of the planners of and participants in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Activities:  After its initial formation, AAB relied primarily on rocket attacks against Israeli civilians.  It is responsible for numerous rockets fired into Israeli territory from Lebanon, often targeting population centers.

In 2013, AAB began targeting Hizballah for the organization’s involvement in the Syrian conflict and support for Syrian regime forces.  In November 2013, AAB claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing outside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed 23 people and wounded more than 140.  In February 2014, AAB claimed twin suicide bomb attacks against the Iranian cultural center in Beirut that killed four people.  In June 2014, AAB was blamed for a suicide bombing in the Beirut neighborhood of Tayyouneh, which killed a security officer and wounded 25 people.

In June 2015, the group released photos of a training camp for its “Marwan Hadid Brigade” camp in Syria, likely located in Homs province.  From 2016 – 2018, AAB continued its involvement in the Syrian conflict and was active in Lebanon’s Ain al-Hilwah refugee camp.

In December 2017, AAB called for violent jihad by Muslims against the United States and Israel after the U.S. announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  AAB did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2018 or 2019, but announced its full dissolution in Syria in November 2019.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Lebanon

Funding and External Aid:  Sources of funding are unknown.


Aka al Harakat al Islamiyya (the Islamic Movement)

Description:  The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997.  ASG split from the Moro National Liberation Front in the early 1990s and is one of the most violent terrorist groups in the Philippines.  The group claims to promote an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, and elements of the group have ties to ISIS’s regional affiliate ISIS-Philippines.

Activities:  ASG has committed kidnappings-for-ransom, bombings, ambushes of security personnel, public beheadings, assassinations, and extortion.

Throughout 2015, ASG was responsible for multiple attacks, kidnappings, and the killing of hostages.  In 2016 and 2017, the group conducted kidnapping-for-ransom operations targeting Canadian, Norwegian, German, and Filipino citizens.  In August 2017, ASG members killed nine people and injured others in an attack on Basilan Island.  In July 2018, ASG detonated a car bomb at a military checkpoint on Basilan Island, killing 10 people, including a Philippine soldier and pro-government militiamen.

ASG continued conducting terrorist attacks and kidnappings in 2019.  In May, ASG militants attacked Philippine soldiers on Jolo, resulting in the deaths of two children.  In October, ASG kidnapped two British nationals from a beach resort in the Zamboanga region, but they were recovered on Jolo in November.

Strength:  ASG is estimated to have hundreds of members.

Location/Area of Operation:  Philippines and Malaysia

Funding and External Aid:  ASG is primarily funded through its kidnapping-for-ransom operations and extortion.  The group may also receive funding from external sources, including remittances from overseas Philippine workers and Middle East-based sympathizers.  In the past, ASG has also received training and other assistance from regional terrorist groups such as Jemaah Islamiya.


Aka al-Aqsa Martyrs Battalion

Description:  Designated as an FTO on March 27, 2002, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB) is composed of small cells of Fatah-affiliated activists that emerged at the outset of the al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000.  AAMB strives to expel the Israeli military and settlers from the West Bank in order to establish a Palestinian state loyal to Fatah.

Activities:  During the 2000 Intifada, AAMB primarily carried out small-arms attacks against Israeli military personnel and settlers.  By 2002, the group was striking at Israeli civilians inside Israel, and claimed responsibility for the first female suicide bombing in Israel.  In 2010 and 2011, the group launched numerous rocket attacks on Israeli communities.  In November 2012, AAMB claimed that it had fired more than 500 rockets and missiles into Israel during an Israel Defense Forces operation in Gaza.

In 2015, AAMB declared open war against Israel and asked Iran to help fund its efforts in a televised broadcast.  Throughout 2015, AAMB continued attacking Israeli soldiers and civilians.

In March 2016, armed confrontation broke out in Nablus between Palestinian youths and Palestinian security officials following the arrest of an AAMB associate on murder charges; seven youths and six Palestinian security officials were injured in the unrest.  AAMB claimed responsibility for two rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip in March 2017 and six rockets in June 2018, although these did not cause any casualties.  AAMB did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2019.

Strength:  AAMB is estimated to have a few hundred members.

Location/Area of Operation:  Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank

Funding and External Aid:  Iran has provided AAMB with funds and guidance, primarily through Hizballah facilitators.


Aka Saraya al-Ashtar; AAB

Description:  Al-Ashtar Brigades (AAB) was designated as an FTO on July 11, 2018.  AAB is an Iran-backed terrorist organization established in 2013 with the goal of violently overthrowing the ruling family in Bahrain.  In January 2018, AAB formally adopted Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps branding and reaffirmed its loyalty to Tehran to reflect its role in an Iranian network of state and nonstate actors that operates against the United States and its allies in the region.

Activities:  Since 2013, AAB has claimed responsibility for more than 20 terrorist attacks against police and security targets in Bahrain.  In March 2014, AAB conducted a bomb attack that killed two police officers and an officer from the United Arab Emirates.  In January 2017, AAB shot and killed another local Bahrain officer.  AAB has also promoted violent activity against the British, Saudi Arabian, and U.S. governments over social media.  In February 2019, AAB released a video statement promising more attacks in Bahrain to mark the anniversary of Bahrain’s Arab Spring-inspired political uprising; however, the group did not claim responsibility for any terrorist attacks in 2019.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Bahrain, Iran, and Iraq

Funding and External Aid:  AAB receives funding and support from the Government of Iran.


Aka Ansar Dine; Ansar al-Din; Ancar Dine; Ansar ul-Din; Ansar Eddine; Defenders of the Faith

Description:  The Mali-based group Ansar al-Dine (AAD) was designated as an FTO on March 22, 2013.  AAD was created in late 2011 after its leader Iyad ag Ghali failed in his attempt to take over another secular Tuareg organization.  Following the March 2012 coup that toppled the Malian government, AAD was among the organizations (which also included al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM] and Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa) to take over northern Mali, destroy UNESCO World Heritage sites, and enforce a severe interpretation of Sharia law upon the civilian population living in the areas under its control.

Beginning in January 2013, French and allied African forces conducted operations in northern Mali to counter AAD and other terrorist groups, eventually forcing AAD and its allies out of the population centers they had seized.  Ghali, however, remained free and appeared in AAD videos in 2015 and 2016 threatening France and the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

In 2017, the Sahara Branch of AQIM, AAD, al-Murabitoun, and the Macina Liberation Front came together to form Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM).

Activities:  In early 2012, AAD received backing from AQIM in its fight against the Government of Mali, including for its capture of the Malian towns of Agulhok, Gao, Kidal, Tessalit, and Timbuktu.  In March 2013, AAD members were reportedly among the Tuareg rebels responsible for killing 82 Malian soldiers and kidnapping 30 others in an attack against Agulhok.  Before the French intervention in January 2013, Malian citizens in towns under AAD’s control allegedly faced harassment, torture, and death if they refused to comply with the group’s laws.

AAD was severely weakened by the 2013 French intervention, but increased its activities in 2015 and 2016.  In 2016, AAD claimed responsibility for attacks targeting the Malian army and MINUSMA.  In July 2016, AAD attacked an army base, leaving 17 soldiers dead and six missing. The following month, the group claimed three attacks:  two IED attacks on French forces and a rocket or mortar attack on a joint UN-French base near Tessalit.  In October and November 2016, AAD claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on UN and French forces.  In February 2017, AAD claimed responsibility for an attack on the Malian Gendarmerie in Tenenkou, Mali.  AAD did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2018 and 2019.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Mali

Funding and External Aid:  AAD cooperates closely with and has received support from AQIM since its inception.  AAD is also said to receive funds from foreign donors and through smuggling operations.


Aka Ansar al-Sunna; Ansar al-Sunna Army; Devotees of Islam; Followers of Islam in Kurdistan; Helpers of Islam; Jaish Ansar al-Sunna; Jund al-Islam; Kurdish Taliban; Kurdistan Supporters of Islam; Partisans of Islam; Soldiers of God; Soldiers of Islam; Supporters of Islam in Kurdistan

Description:  Ansar al-Islam (AAI) was designated as an FTO on March 22, 2004.  AAI was established in 2001 in the Iraqi Kurdistan region through the merger of two Kurdish terrorist factions that traced their roots to the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan.  AAI seeks to expel western interests from Iraq and establish an independent Iraqi state based on its interpretation of Sharia law.

Activities:  From 2003 to 2011, AAI conducted attacks against a wide range of targets including Iraqi government and security forces, and U.S. and Coalition forces.  The group also carried out numerous kidnappings, murders, and assassinations of Iraqi citizens and politicians.  In 2012, AAI claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Sons of Martyrs School in Damascus, which was occupied by Syrian security forces and progovernment militias; seven people were wounded in the attack.

During summer 2014, part of AAI issued a statement pledging allegiance to ISIS, although later reports suggest that a faction of AAI opposed joining ISIS.  In October 2019, AAI claimed its first attack in Iraq in five years, placing two IEDs in Iraq’s Diyala province.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Iraq and Syria

Funding and External Aid:  AAI receives assistance from a loose network of associates in Europe and the Middle East.


Aka Ansar al-Sharia in Libya; Ansar al-Shariah Brigade; Ansar al-Shari’a Brigade; Katibat Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi; Ansar al-Shariah-Benghazi; Al-Raya Establishment for Media Production; Ansar al-Sharia; Soldiers of the Sharia; Ansar al-Shariah; Supporters of Islamic Law

Description:  Designated as an FTO on January 13, 2014, Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi (AAS‑B) was created after the 2011 fall of the Qadhafi regime in Libya.  The group has been involved in terrorist attacks against civilian targets as well as the assassination and attempted assassination of security officials and political actors in eastern Libya.

Activities:  Members of AAS-B were involved in the September 11, 2012, attacks against the U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya.  Four U.S. citizens were killed in the attack:  Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens.

Throughout 2016, AAS-B continued its fight against the “Libyan National Army” in Benghazi, resulting in the deaths of numerous Libyan security personnel and civilians.  Additionally, AASB controlled several terrorist training camps in Libya and trained members of other terrorist organizations operating in Syria, Iraq, and Mali.

In May 2017, AAS-B announced its formal dissolution due to suffering heavy losses, including the group’s senior leadership, as well as defections to ISIS in Libya.  AAS-B has not claimed responsibility for any attacks since 2016.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Benghazi, Libya

Funding and External Aid:  AAS-B obtained funds from al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb as well as through charities, donations, and criminal activities.


Aka Supporters of Islamic Law; Ansar al-Sharia in Derna; Ansar al-Sharia in Libya; Ansar alSharia; Ansar al-Sharia Brigade in Darnah

Description:  Designated as an FTO on January 13, 2014, Ansar al-Shari’a in Darnah (AAS-D) was created after the 2011 fall of the Qadhafi regime in Libya.  The group has been involved in terrorist attacks against civilian targets as well as the assassination and attempted assassination of security officials and political actors in eastern Libya.

Activities:  Members of AAS-D were involved in the September 11, 2012, attacks against the U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya.  Four U.S. citizens were killed in the attack:  Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens.

Throughout 2013 and 2014, AAS-D is believed to have cooperated with Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi in multiple attacks and suicide bombings targeting Libyan security forces in Benghazi.  In 2016, AAS-D continued fighting in and around Darnah.  Additionally, AAS-D maintained several terrorist training camps in Darnah and Jebel Akhdar, Libya, and trained members of other terrorist organizations operating in Syria and Iraq.

In 2018, there were unconfirmed reports that AAS-D was involved in clashes with the “Libyan National Army.”  AAS-D did not claim any attacks in 2019.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Darnah, Libya

Funding and External Aid:   Sources of funding are unknown.


Aka Al-Qayrawan Media Foundation; Supporters of Islamic Law; Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia; Ansar al-Shari’ah; Ansar al-Shari’ah in Tunisia; Ansar al-Sharia

Description:  Designated as an FTO on January 13, 2014, Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia (AAS-T) was founded in 2011 by Seif Allah Ben Hassine.  AAS-T has been implicated in attacks against Tunisian security forces, assassinations of Tunisian political figures, and attempted suicide bombings of popular tourist locations.  AAS-T has also recruited Tunisians to fight in Syria.

Activities:  AAS-T was involved in the September 14, 2012, attack against the U.S. embassy and American school in Tunis, which threatened the safety of more than 100 U.S. embassy employees.  In February and July 2013, AAS-T members were implicated in the assassination of Tunisian politicians Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi.

Since 2016, Tunisian authorities have continued to confront and arrest AAS-T members.  AAS‑T did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2019.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Tunisia and Libya

Funding and External Aid:  Sources of funding are unknown.


Aka Jaysh al-Islam; Jaish al-Islam

Description:  Designated as an FTO on May 19, 2011, the Army of Islam (AOI), founded in late 2005, is a Gaza-based terrorist organization responsible for numerous terrorist acts against the Israeli and Egyptian governments and British, New Zealand, and U.S. citizens.  The group, led by Mumtaz Dughmush, subscribes to a violent Salafist ideology.

Note:  AOI is a separate and distinct group from the Syria-based Jaysh al-Islam, which is not a designated FTO.

Activities:  AOI is responsible for the 2006 and 2007 kidnappings of civilians, including a U.S. journalist.  AOI also carried out the early 2009 attacks on Egyptian civilians in Cairo and Heliopolis, Egypt, and planned the January 1, 2011, attack on a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria that killed 25 and wounded 100.  In November 2012, AOI announced that it had launched rocket attacks on Israel in a joint operation with the Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem.  In August 2013, an Israeli official reported that AOI leader Dughmush was running training camps in Gaza.

In September 2015, AOI reportedly released a statement pledging allegiance to ISIS.  In a short post attributed to the group, AOI declared itself an inseparable part of ISIS-Sinai Province.  Since then, AOI has continued to express support for ISIS.  In October 2017, the group released a video in an effort to encourage ISIS fighters defending Mosul.  In August 2019, AOI shared another video praising ISIS that included training information for individuals to conduct suicide attacks.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Egypt, Gaza, and Israel

Funding and External Aid:  AOI receives much of its funding from a variety of criminal activities in Gaza.


Aka AAA; Band of Helpers; Band of Partisans; League of Partisans; League of the Followers; God’s Partisans; Gathering of Supporters; Partisan’s League; Esbat al-Ansar; Isbat al-Ansar; Osbat al-Ansar; Usbat al-Ansar; Usbat ul-Ansar

Description:  Designated as an FTO on March 27, 2002, Asbat al-Ansar (AAA) is a Lebanon‑based Sunni terrorist group composed primarily of Palestinians that first emerged in the early 1990s.  Linked to al-Qa’ida and other Sunni terrorist groups, AAA aims to thwart perceived anti-Islamic and pro-Western influences in the country.  AAA’s base is largely confined to Lebanon’s refugee camps.

Activities:  Throughout the mid-1990s, AAA assassinated Lebanese religious leaders and bombed nightclubs, theaters, and liquor stores.  The group also plotted against foreign diplomatic targets.  Between 2005 and 2011, AAA members traveled to Iraq to fight Coalition Forces.  AAA has been reluctant to involve itself in operations in Lebanon, in part because of concerns of losing its safe haven in the Ain al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp.  AAA remained active in Lebanon but has not claimed responsibility for any attacks since 2018.

Strength:  AAA membership is estimated in the low hundreds.

Location/Area of Operation:  AAA’s primary base of operations is the Ain al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon.

Funding and External Aid:  AAA likely receives money through international Sunni extremist networks.


Aka A.I.C.  Comprehensive Research Institute; A.I.C.  Sogo Kenkyusho; Aleph; Aum Supreme Truth

Description:  Aum Shinrikyo (AUM) was designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997.  It was established in 1987 by leader Shoko Asahara and gained legal status in Japan as a religious entity in 1989.  The Japanese government revoked its recognition of AUM as a religious organization following the group’s deadly 1995 sarin attack in Tokyo.  Despite claims that the group has renounced violence and Asahara’s teachings, members of AUM continue to adhere to the violent and apocalyptic teachings of its founder.

Activities:  In March 1995, AUM members simultaneously released the chemical nerve agent sarin on several Tokyo subway trains, killing 13 and causing up to 6,000 people to seek medical treatment.  Subsequent investigations by the Japanese government revealed that AUM was responsible for other chemical incidents in Japan in 1994, including a sarin attack on a residential neighborhood in Matsumoto that killed seven and injured approximately 500.  Japanese police arrested Asahara in May 1995; in February 2004, authorities sentenced him to death for his role in the 1995 attacks.

Although AUM has not conducted a terrorist attack since 1995, concerns remain regarding its continued adherence to the violent teachings of Asahara.  The group now consists of two factions, both of which have recruited new members, engaged in commercial enterprises, and acquired property.  In July 2000, Russian authorities arrested a group of Russian AUM followers who planned to detonate bombs in Japan as part of an operation to free Asahara from prison.  In August 2012, a Japan Airlines flight to the United States turned back after receiving a bomb threat demanding the release of Asahara.

In March 2016, Montenegro expelled 58 people associated with AUM found holding a conference at a hotel in Danilovgrad.  One month later, Russian authorities carried out raids on 25 AUM properties and opened a criminal investigation into an AUM cell.  In November 2017, Japanese police raided the offices of a “successor” group to AUM.

On July 6, 2018, AUM leader Shoko Asahara was executed.  AUM did not claim any attacks in 2019.

Strength:  AUM is estimated to have around 1,500 followers.

Location/Area of Operation:  Japan and Russia

Funding and External Aid:  AUM’s funding comes primarily from member contributions and group-run businesses.


Aka ETA; Askatasuna; Batasuna; Ekin; Euskal Herritarrok; Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna; Herri Batasuna; Jarrai-Haika-Segi; K.A.S.; XAKI; Epanastatiki Pirines; Popular Revolutionary Struggl

Description:  Designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997, Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) was founded in 1959 with the aim of establishing an independent homeland based on Marxist principles in the Spanish Basque provinces of Alava, Guipuzcoa, and Viscaya; the autonomous region of Navarre; and the southwestern French territories of Labourd, Lower-Navarre, and Soule.

Activities:  ETA has primarily conducted bombings and assassinations against Spanish government officials, businessmen, politicians, judicial figures, and security and military forces; however, the group has also targeted journalists and major tourist areas.  ETA is responsible for killing more than 800 civilians and members of the armed forces and police as well as injuring thousands since it formally began its campaign of violence in 1968.

In December 2006, ETA exploded a massive car bomb, destroying much of the covered parking garage at Madrid’s Barajas International Airport.  ETA marked its fiftieth anniversary in 2009 with a series of high profile and deadly bombings, including the July 2009 attack on a Civil Guard barracks that injured more than 60 people, including children.

ETA has not conducted  any attacks since it announced a “definitive cessation of armed activity” in October 2011.

In 2016, authorities seized ETA weapons, including a cache found in a forest north of Paris, and captured the top ETA leader.  In April 2017, ETA reported that it had relinquished its last caches of weapons.  In May 2018, ETA released a letter announcing the dissolution of its organizational structures.  In a September 2019 mass trial, a Spanish court accepted a plea deal for 47 ETA members to avoid prison sentences for membership in the group.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Spain and France

Funding and External Aid:  Sources of funding are unknown.


aka Nigerian Taliban; Jama’atu Ahlus-Sunnah Lidda’Awati Wal Jihad; Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad; People Committed to the Prophet’s Teachings for Propagation and Jihad; Sunni Group for Preaching and Jihad

Description:  Boko Haram (BH) was designated as an FTO on November 14, 2013.  The Nigeria-based group is responsible for numerous attacks in northern and northeastern regions of the country as well as in the Lake Chad Basin in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger that have killed thousands of people since 2009.

In March 2015, BH pledged allegiance to ISIS in an audiotape message.  ISIS accepted the  pledge, and BH began calling itself ISIS-West Africa.  In August 2016, ISIS announced that Abu Musab al-Barnawi was to replace Abubakar Shekau as the new leader of the group.  Infighting then led BH to split.  Shekau maintains a group of followers and affiliates concentrated primarily in the Sambisa Forest; this faction is known as Boko Haram, while al‑Barnawi’s group is now separated and designated as ISIS-West Africa.

Activities:  BH crosses porous Lake Chad region borders to target civilians and military personnel in northeast Nigeria, the Far North Region of Cameroon, and parts of Chad and Niger.  The group continued to evade pressure from Lake Chad country forces, including through the regional Multinational Joint Task Force.

Throughout 2014, BH killed about 5,000 Nigerian civilians in various attacks.  In April 2014, the group kidnapped 276 female students from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State. BH has continued to abduct women and girls in the northern region of Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, some of whom are subjected to domestic servitude, other forms of forced labor, and sexual servitude, including through forced marriages to its members.  For further information, refer to the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report.

In January 2015, BH carried out a massacre in Baga, Borno State; reported casualties ranged from 150 to more than 2,000 killed, injured, or disappeared.  The January 2015 attacks and other BH operations in surrounding smaller villages in 2015 displaced an estimated 35,000 people and allowed BH to gain control of Borno State.

Between 2017 and 2018, BH increased its forced abduction of women and girls and ordered them to carry out suicide attacks on civilians, including the January 2017 attack against the University of Maiduguri in Borno State, and twin attacks against a mosque and market in Adamawa State, Nigeria, in May 2018, killing 86.

BH continued its terrorist attacks in 2018 and 2019.  Between January and November 2019, BH reportedly killed at least 275 people, mostly civilians, and displaced thousands in the Far North Region of Cameroon.  In February, the group killed at least 60 people in a renewed assault on the northeast Nigerian town of Rann.  In July, at least 65 people were killed and 10 others injured in an attack by suspected BH fighters on a funeral in Borno State.

Strength:  BH is estimated to have several thousand fighters.

Location/Area of Operation:  Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad

Funding and External Aid:  BH largely self-finances through criminal activities such as looting, extortion, kidnapping-for-ransom, and bank robberies.


Aka CPP/NPA; Communist Party of the Philippines; CPP; New People’s Army; NPA; NPP/CPP

Description:  The Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) was designated as an FTO on August 9, 2002.  The military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) – the New People’s Army (NPA) – is a Maoist group formed in March 1969 with the aim of overthrowing the government through protracted guerrilla warfare.  NPA’s founder, Jose Maria Sison, reportedly directs CPP/NPA activity from the Netherlands, where he lives in self-imposed exile.  Luis Jalandoni, a fellow Central Committee member and director of the CPP’s overt political wing, the National Democratic Front, also lives in the Netherlands.  Although primarily a rural-based guerrilla group, the CPP/NPA has an active urban infrastructure to support its terrorist activities and, at times, has used city-based assassination squads.

Activities:  The CPP/NPA primarily targets Philippine security forces, government officials, local infrastructure, and businesses that refuse to pay extortion, or “revolutionary taxes.”  The CPP/NPA also has a history of attacking U.S. interests in the Philippines.  In 1987, for example, the group killed three U.S. soldiers in four separate attacks in Angeles City.  In 1989, the CPP/NPA issued a press statement claiming responsibility for the ambush and murder of Colonel James Nicholas Rowe, chief of the Ground Forces Division of the Joint U.S.-Military Advisory Group.

Over the past several years, the CPP/NPA has continued to carry out killings, raids, kidnappings, acts of extortion, and other forms of violence primarily directed against Philippine security forces.

Throughout 2016 and 2017, several attempts were made to establish a cease-fire and peace deal between the CPP/NPA and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.  Reported violations from both sides, however – including reports of the CPP/NPA’s continued recruitment in the Philippines and attacks against government forces and civilians – stalled peace efforts through 2019.

In August 2018, seven suspected members of the CPP/NPA were killed in a shootout with Philippine police in the town of Antique; authorities found a cache of cellphones, laptops, firearms, and explosives at the site.  In December 2018, CPP/NPA members attacked a military patrol in the city of Catarman using an anti-personnel mine.  The attack killed four soldiers and two civilians.

In 2019, the CPP/NPA continued attacks on security forces and civilians.  Their most deadly was in April, when they detonated bombs by an improvised land mine in a surprise early morning attack clash in Samar, killing six Philippine troops.

Strength:  The Philippine government estimates that the CPP/NPA has about 4,000 members.  The group also retains a significant amount of support from communities in rural areas of the Philippines.

Location/Area of Operation:  The Philippines

Funding and External Aid:  The CPP/NPA raises funds through extortion and theft.


Aka CIRA; Continuity Army Council; Continuity IRA; Republican Sinn Fein

Description:  Designated as an FTO on July 13, 2004, the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) is a terrorist splinter group that became operational in 1986 as the clandestine armed wing of Republican Sinn Fein, following its split from Sinn Fein.  “Continuity” refers to the group’s belief that it is carrying on the original goal of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), to force the British out of Northern Ireland.  CIRA cooperates with the larger Real IRA (RIRA).

Activities:  CIRA has been active in Belfast and the border areas of Northern Ireland, where it has carried out bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, extortion operations, and robberies.  On occasion, it has provided advance warning to police of its attacks.  Targets have included the British military, Northern Ireland security forces, and Loyalist paramilitary groups.

In February 2016, CIRA claimed responsibility for a shooting at a boxing event in Dublin that left one dead.  In June 2017, CIRA released a statement claiming it would disband and decommission some of its arms over the following three months, describing the conflict as a “futile war.”

In August 2019, CIRA members conducted an attack on the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), setting off a bomb near the border of North Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In December 2019, CIRA claimed responsibility for a grenade attack in west Belfast on a PSNI vehicle.

Strength:  CIRA’s membership is small, with possibly fewer than 50 members.

Location/Area of Operation:  Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

Funding and External Aid:  CIRA supports its activities through criminal activities, including smuggling.


Aka al-Gama’at; Egyptian al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya; GI; Islamic Gama’at; IG; Islamic Group

Description:  Gama’a al-Islamiyya (IG) was designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997.  Formed in the 1970s, IG was once Egypt’s largest terrorist group.  The group’s external wing, composed mainly of exiled members residing in several countries, maintained that its primary goal was to replace the Egyptian government with an Islamist state.  IG’s “spiritual” leader Omar Abd al-Rahman, or the “blind Sheikh,” served a life sentence in a U.S. prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and died in prison in February 2017.

Activities:  During the 1990s, IG conducted armed attacks against Egyptian security, other government officials, and Coptic Christians.  IG claimed responsibility for the June 1995 attempted assassination of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The group also launched attacks on tourists in Egypt, most notably the 1997 Luxor attack.  In 1999, part of the group publicly renounced violence.  IG is not known to have committed a terrorist attack in recent years; the group remained dormant in 2019.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Egypt

Funding and External Aid:  Sources of funding are unknown.


Aka the Islamic Resistance Movement; Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya; Izz al-Din al Qassam Battalions; Izz al-Din al Qassam Brigades; Izz al-Din al Qassam Forces; Students of Ayyash; Student of the Engineer; Yahya Ayyash Units; Izz al-Din al-Qassim Brigades; Izz al-Din alQassim Forces; Izz al-Din al-Qassim Battalions; Izz al-Din al Qassam Battalions; Izz al-Din al Qassam Brigades; Izz al-Din al Qassam Forces

Description:  Designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997, Hamas was established in 1987 at the onset of the first Palestinian uprising, or First Intifada, as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.  The armed element, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has conducted anti-Israeli attacks, including suicide bombings against civilian targets inside Israel.  Hamas also manages a broad, mostly Gaza-based, network of Dawa or ministry activities that include charities, schools, clinics, youth camps, fundraising, and political activities.  After winning Palestinian Legislative Council elections in January 2006, Hamas gained control of significant Palestinian Authority (PA) ministries in Gaza, including the Ministry of Interior.  In 2007, Hamas expelled the PA and Fatah from Gaza in a violent takeover.  In 2017, the group selected a new leader, Ismail Haniyeh, who is based in Gaza.  Hamas remained the de facto ruler in Gaza in 2019.

Activities:  Before 2005, Hamas conducted numerous anti-Israeli attacks, including suicide bombings, rocket launches, IED attacks, and shootings.  U.S. citizens have died and been injured in the group’s attacks.  In June 2007, after Hamas took control of Gaza from the PA and Fatah, the Gaza borders were closed, and Hamas increased its use of tunnels to smuggle weapons into Gaza through the Sinai and maritime routes.

Hamas fought a 23-day war with Israel from late December 2008 to January 2009.  From November 14-21, 2012, Hamas fought another war with Israel during which it claims to have launched more than 1,400 rockets into Israel.  Despite the Egypt-mediated cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in 2012, operatives from Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) coordinated and carried out a November bus bombing in Tel Aviv that wounded 29 people.  On July 8, 2014, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in Gaza with the intent of preventing rocket fire into Israel; the rocket fire from Gaza had increased following earlier Israeli military operations that targeted Hamas for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June 2014, including 16-year-old U.S.-Israeli citizen Naftali Fraenkel.

In April 2016, a Hamas member carried out a suicide attack on a bus in Jerusalem, killing 20.  The group was also held responsible for several Gaza-based rocket attacks, including a July strike in Sderot that hit a kindergarten and damaged several buildings.

Hamas-organized protests at the border between Gaza and Israel continued throughout much of 2019, resulting in clashes that killed Hamas members, Palestinian protestors, and Israeli soldiers.  Hamas claimed responsibility for numerous rocket attacks from Gaza into Israeli territory throughout 2018, and the Israeli military reported that some rocket attacks in 2019 came from Hamas launchers.

Strength:  Hamas comprises several thousand Gaza-based operatives.

Location/Area of Operation: Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon

Funding and External Aid:  Hamas has received funding, weapons, and training from Iran and raises funds in Gulf countries.  The group receives donations from some Palestinian and other expatriates as well as from its own charity organizations.



Description:  Designated as an FTO on September 19, 2012, the Haqqani Network (HQN) was formed in the late 1980s, around the time of the then-Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.  HQN’s founder Jalaluddin Haqqani established a relationship with Usama bin Laden in the mid‑1980s, and joined the Taliban in 1995.  After the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, Jalaluddin retreated to Pakistan where, under the leadership of his son Sirajuddin Haqqani, HQN continued to direct and conduct terrorist activity in Afghanistan.  In July 2015, Sirajuddin Haqqani was appointed Deputy Leader of the Taliban.

Activities:  HQN has planned and carried out numerous significant kidnappings and attacks against U.S. and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, the Afghan government, and civilian targets.  In September 2011, HQN wounded 77 U.S. soldiers in a truck bombing in Wardak province and conducted a 19-hour attack on the U.S. Embassy and International Security Assistance Force headquarters in Kabul, killing 16 Afghans.  In June 2012, an HQN suicide bomb attack against Forward Operating Base Salerno killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded more than 100 others.

In April 2016, HQN was blamed for an attack in Kabul against a government security agency tasked with providing protection to senior government officials. This attack was the deadliest in Kabul in 15 years, killing 64 people and injuring more than 300.  Afghan officials also blamed HQN for a June 2016 double suicide attack outside of Kabul against Afghan police cadets and first responders; 30 people were killed.

On May 31, 2017, a truck bomb exploded in Kabul, killing more than 150 people.  Afghan officials blamed HQN for the attack.  In October, an American woman and her family were recovered after five years of HQN captivity.

HQN was believed to be responsible for a January 2018 ambulance bombing in Kabul that killed more than 100 people.  Afghan officials blamed HQN for a January 2018 attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul that killed 22 people, including Americans.  HQN was also blamed for a May 2018 attack on the Afghan interior ministry that resulted in the death of a police officer.

In November 2019, the HQN released two hostages, including a U.S. citizen, who were kidnapped at gunpoint in August 2016.  Afghan authorities also released Anas Haqqani, a leading figure and fund-raiser for HQN.

Strength:  HQN is estimated to have between 3,000 and 5,000 fighters.

Location/Area of Operation:  Afghanistan and Pakistan

Funding and External Aid:  HQN is primarily funded from taxing local commerce, extortion, smuggling, and other licit and illicit business ventures.  In addition to the funding it receives as part of the broader Afghan Taliban, the group receives some funds from donors in Pakistan and the Gulf.


Aka HUJI; Movement of Islamic Holy War; Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami; Harkat-al-Jihad-ul Islami; Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami; Harakat ul Jihad-e-Islami

Description:  Designated as an FTO on August 6, 2010, Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI) was formed in 1980 in Afghanistan to fight against the former Soviet Union.  Following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, the group redirected its efforts towards India.  HUJI seeks the annexation of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir into Pakistan and the expulsion of Coalition Forces from Afghanistan, and has supplied fighters to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

HUJI historically focused its activities on the Afghanistan-Pakistan front, and was composed of Pakistani terrorists and veterans of the Soviet-Afghan war.  HUJI experienced internal splits, and a portion of the group has aligned with al-Qa’ida.

Activities:  HUJI claimed responsibility for the September 7, 2011, bombing of the New Delhi High Court, which left at least 11 dead and an estimated 76 wounded.  The group sent an email to the press stating that the bomb was intended to force India to repeal a death sentence of a HUJI member.  HUJI did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2019.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan

Funding and External Aid:  Sources of funding are unknown.


Aka HUJI-B; Harakat ul Jihad e Islami Bangladesh; Harkatul Jihad al Islam; Harkatul Jihad; Harakat ul Jihad al Islami; Harkat ul Jihad al Islami; Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami; Harakat ul Jihad Islami Bangladesh; Islami Dawat-e-Kafela; IDEK

Description:  Designated as an FTO on March 5, 2008, Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B) was formed in April 1992 by a group of former Bangladeshi Afghan veterans seeking to establish Islamist rule in Bangladesh.  In October 2005, Bangladeshi authorities banned the group.  The leaders of HUJI-B signed the February 1998 fatwa sponsored by Usama bin Laden that declared U.S. civilians legitimate targets.  HUJI-B has connections to al-Qa’ida and Pakistani terrorist groups advocating similar objectives, including HUJI and Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT).

Activities:  In December 2008, three HUJI-B members, including HUJI-B leader Mufti Abdul Hannan, were convicted for the May 2004 grenade attack that wounded the British High Commissioner in Sylhet, Bangladesh.  In 2011, Bangladeshi authorities formally charged multiple suspects, including Hannan, with the killing of former Finance Minister Shah AMS Kibria in a grenade attack on January 27, 2005.  In 2013, Bangladeshi police arrested a group of terrorists, including HUJI-B members, who were preparing attacks on public gatherings and prominent individuals.  In 2014, HUJI-B continued its operations; reports at the time suggested that some HUJI-B members may have traveled to Pakistan to receive military training from LeT.

On April 12, 2017, Bangladeshi authorities executed HUJI-B leader Hannan and two associates for the May 2004 grenade attack. In October 2019, Dhaka police arrested three HUJI-B operatives reportedly attempting to revive the group’s operations.

Strength:  HUJI-B leaders claim that up to 400 of its members are Afghan war veterans; its total membership is unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Bangladesh and India

Funding and External Aid:  HUJI-B funding comes from a variety of sources.  Several international NGOs may have funneled money to HUJI-B.


Aka HUM; Harakat ul-Ansar; HUA; Jamiat ul-Ansar; JUA; al-Faran; al-Hadid; al-Hadith; Harakat ul-Mujahidin; Ansar ul Ummah

Description:  Designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997, Harakat ul-Mujahideen (HUM) seeks the annexation of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir into Pakistan and the expulsion of Coalition Forces from Afghanistan.  In January 2005, HUM’s long-time leader Fazlur Rehman Khalil stepped down and was replaced by Dr. Badr Munir.  HUM operated terrorist training camps in eastern Afghanistan until Coalition air strikes destroyed them in 2001.  In 2003, HUM began using the name Jamiat ul-Ansar; Pakistan banned the group in November 2003.

Activities:  HUM has conducted numerous operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as in India’s northeastern states.  In December 1999, HUM hijacked an Indian airliner, which led to the release of Masood Azhar, an important leader who later founded Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).  India also released Ahmed Omar Sheikh as a result of the hijacking.  Sheikh was later convicted of the 2002 abduction and murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl.

HUM has conducted attacks targeting Indian interests including the late December 2015 strikes in Handwor and Poonch, which resulted in the deaths of five Indian army personnel.  HUM did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2019.

Strength:  After 2000, a significant portion of HUM’s membership defected to JeM, and only a small number of cadres are reported to still be active.

Location/Area of Operation:  HUM conducts operations primarily in Afghanistan and in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.  It operates from Muzaffarabad in Azad Kashmir, and in other cities in Pakistan.

Funding and External Aid:  HUM collects donations from wealthy donors in Pakistan.


Aka the Party of God; Islamic Jihad; Islamic Jihad Organization; Revolutionary Justice Organization; Organization of the Oppressed on Earth; Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine; Organization of Right Against Wrong; Ansar Allah; Followers of the Prophet Muhammed; Lebanese Hizballah; Lebanese Hezbollah; LH; Foreign Relations Department; FRD; External Security Organization; ESO; Foreign Action Unit; Hizballah ESO: Hizballah International; Special Operations Branch; External Services Organization; External Security Organization of Hizballah

Description:  Hizballah was designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997.  Formed in 1982 following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the Lebanon-based radical Shia group takes its ideological inspiration from the Iranian revolution and the teachings of the late Ayatollah Khomeini.  The group generally follows the religious guidance of the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.  Hizballah is closely allied with Iran and the two often work together on shared initiatives, although Hizballah also occasionally acts independently.  Hizballah shares a close relationship with the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad, and like Iran, provides assistance – including fighters – to Syrian regime forces in the Syrian conflict.

Activities:  Hizballah is responsible for multiple large-scale terrorist attacks, including the 1983 suicide truck bombings of U.S. Embassy Beiruit and the U.S. Marine barracks; the 1984 attack on the U.S. Embassy Beirut annex; and the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847, during which U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem was murdered.  Hizballah was also implicated, along with Iran, in the 1992 attacks on the Israeli embassy in Argentina and the 1994 bombing of the Argentine‑Israelite Mutual Association in Buenos Aires.

Hizballah assisted Iraq Shia militant and terrorist groups in Iraq, and in January 2007, attacked the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center, killing five American soldiers.

In July 2012, a suspected Hizballah operative was detained by Cypriot authorities for allegedly helping plan an attack against Israeli tourists on the island.  On March 21, 2013, a Cyprus court found the operative guilty of charges based on his surveillance activities of Israeli tourists.  The group was also responsible for the July 2012 attack on a passenger bus carrying 42 Israeli tourists at the Sarafovo Airport in Bulgaria, near the city of Burgas.  The explosion killed five Israelis and one Bulgarian, and injured 32 others.

In May 2013, Hizballah publicly admitted to playing a significant role in the ongoing conflict in Syria, rallying support for the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad.  Hizballah’s support for Syria’s Assad regime continued into 2019.

In May 2013, Nigerian authorities arrested three Hizballah operatives who had stored weapons and a large quantity of ammunition and explosives.  In October 2014, Peruvian authorities arrested a Hizballah operative who had been planning to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets.  In May 2015, Cypriot authorities arrested and convicted a Hizballah member after finding 8.2 tons of liquid ammonium nitrate in the basement of a residence in Larnaca.  In August 2015, Kuwaiti authorities arrested three Hizballah operatives who had stored weapons and explosives under a residential house.

In June 2017, two Hizballah operatives were arrested in the United States.  One operative arrested in Michigan had identified the availability of explosives precursors in Panama in 2011 and surveilled U.S. and Israeli targets in Panama as well as the Panama Canal from 2011-2012.  Another operative arrested in New York had surveilled U.S. military and law enforcement facilities from 2003-2017.

In September 2018, Brazil arrested a Hizballah financier, and in December 2018, tunnels reportedly built by the group were discovered on Israeli territory along the boundary with Lebanon.  In September 2019, Hizballah launched attacks directly on the Israeli military, firing anti-tank missiles targeting an army base and vehicles near the border.

Strength:  Hizballah has tens of thousands of supporters and members worldwide.

Location/Area of Operation:  Lebanon and Syria

Funding and External Aid:  Iran continues to provide Hizballah with most of its funding, training, weapons, and explosives, as well as political, diplomatic, monetary, and organizational aid.  Iran’s annual financial backing to Hizballah – which in recent years has been estimated at $700 million – accounts for the overwhelming majority of the group’s annual budget.  The Assad regime has provided training, weapons, and diplomatic and political support.  Hizballah also receives funding in the form of private donations from some Lebanese Shia diaspora communities worldwide, including profits from legal and illegal businesses.  These include smuggling contraband goods, passport falsification, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and credit card, immigration, and bank fraud.


Aka HM, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen

Description:  Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) was designated as an FTO on August 17, 2017.  The group was formed in 1989 and is one of the largest and oldest militant groups operating in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.  HM is led by Mohammad Yusuf Shah, also known as Syed Salahuddin, and officially supports the liberation of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir from Indian control and its accession to Pakistan, although some cadres are pro-independence.  The group focuses its attacks on Indian security forces and politicians in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and has conducted operations jointly with other Kashmiri militants.  The group is made up primarily of ethnic Kashmiris.

Activities:  HM has claimed responsibility for several attacks in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.  In May 2015, HM claimed an attack on Indian security forces in Kupwara that killed three Indian troops, according to the targeted forces.  HM launched additional attacks against Indian security forces in 2015 and 2016.  On May 1, 2017, HM killed seven people – including five policemen – when it attacked a bank van carrying cash in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. On August 29, 2018, HM reportedly killed four policemen in Shopian district in the Indian state Jammu and Kashmir.  On September 21, 2018, HM claimed responsibility for abducting and killing three police officials in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

In March 2019, Indian officials accused HM of being behind a grenade attack on a Jammu bus stand that killed a teenager and injured 32 others.  In June, two Indian soldiers were killed and six others injured when an alleged HM militant attacked their patrol with a VBIED.  HM has also reportedly been specifically targeting non-locals in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and is suspected by police of having killed five Bengali laborers and a truck driver in October 2019.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Jammu and Kashmir

Funding and External Aid:  Sources of support are unknown, but HM is suspected to receive some funding from sources in Pakistan as well as from local fundraising.


Aka Indian Mujahedeen; Indian Mujahidin; Islamic Security Force-Indian Mujahideen (ISF-IM)

Description:  The Indian Mujahedeen (IM) was designated as an FTO on September 19, 2011.  The India-based terrorist group is responsible for dozens of bomb attacks throughout India since 2005 and has caused the deaths of hundreds of civilians.  IM maintains ties to other terrorist entities including ISIS and Pakistan-based Lashkar e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Harakat ul-Jihad Islami.  IM’s stated goal is to carry out terrorist actions against Indians for their oppression of Muslims.

Activities:  IM is known for carrying out multiple coordinated bombings in crowded areas against economic and civilian targets to maximize terror and casualties.  In 2008, IM was responsible for 16 synchronized bomb blasts in crowded urban centers, including an attack in Delhi that killed 30 people and an attack at a local hospital in Ahmedabad that killed 38.  In 2010, IM bombed a popular German bakery frequented by tourists in Pune, India; 17 people were killed, and more than 60 people were injured in the attack.

In January 2015, the arrest of three IM militants linked the group to the December 2014 low‑intensity blast near a restaurant in Bangalore that killed one woman and injured three others.  The arrest also uncovered that the group planned to carry out attacks on India’s Republic Day and had provided explosives for attacks in other parts of the country.

In 2016, IM was increasingly linked to ISIS.  In May, six IM operatives were identified in an ISIS propaganda video threatening attacks on India.  A month later, it was reported that an IM cell linked to ISIS was plotting attacks on multiple targets in Hyderabad and had purchased chemicals to make high-grade explosives for the planned operations.  In September 2017, Indian law enforcement uncovered the plans of an IM militant in custody to conduct attacks in India, including targeted killings and bombing a temple in Gaya.  IM did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2019.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  India

Funding and External Aid:  IM is suspected to obtain funding and support from other terrorist organizations, as well as from sources in Pakistan and the Middle East.


Aka Islamic Jihad Group; Islomiy Jihod Ittihodi; al-Djihad al-Islami; Dzhamaat Modzhakhedov; Islamic Jihad Group of Uzbekistan; Jamiat al-Jihad al-Islami; Jamiyat; The Jamaat Mojahedin; The Kazakh Jama’at; The Libyan Society

Description:  The Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) was designated as an FTO on June 17, 2005.  The group splintered from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in the early 2000s.  Najmiddin Jalolov founded the organization as the Islamic Jihad Group in March 2002, but the group was renamed Islamic Jihad Union in May 2005.  Although IJU remains committed to overthrowing the Government of Uzbekistan, today it is active primarily in Afghanistan and, more recently, in Syria, where a number of its members relocated from Afghanistan.

Activities:  IJU primarily operates against international forces in Afghanistan and remains a threat to Central Asia.  IJU claimed responsibility for attacks in 2004 in Uzbekistan, which targeted police at several roadway checkpoints and at a popular bazaar, killing approximately 47 people, including 33 IJU members, some of whom were suicide bombers.  In July 2004, the group carried out near-simultaneous suicide bombings of the Uzbek Prosecutor General’s office and the U.S. and Israeli Embassies in Tashkent.

In September 2007, German authorities detained three IJU operatives, including two German converts, disrupting the group’s plans to attack targets in Germany – including Ramstein Airbase where the primary targets would be U.S. diplomats, soldiers, and civilians.

In 2013, two IJU videos showed attacks against an American military base in Afghanistan and an IJU sniper shooting an Afghan soldier.

According to statements and photos released by the group, IJU participated in the five-month long 2015 Taliban siege of Kunduz city.  At least 13 police officers were killed in the attacks, and hundreds of civilians were killed.  In August 2015, IJU pledged allegiance to the then newly appointed Taliban leader Mullah Mansour.

In 2017, IJU released a video showing its militants using assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades to fight Afghan troops in late 2016.  IJU released a second video in April 2018 showing a joint raid with the Taliban in northern Afghanistan.  The video, dated October 2017, shows a night clash with Afghan forces.  In 2019, the United Nations confirmed that IJU was operating inside Syria under control of al-Nusra Front.

Strength:  IJU consists of 100 to 200 members.

Location/Area of Operation:  Afghanistan, Syria, Uzbekistan, Turkey, and Europe

Funding and External Aid:  Sources of funding are unknown.



Description:  Designated as an FTO on September 25, 2000, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) seeks to overthrow the Uzbek government and establish an Islamic state.  For most of the past decade, however, the group has recruited members from other Central Asian states and Europe.  Despite its stated objective to set up an Islamic state in Uzbekistan, the group primarily operates along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and in northern Afghanistan, where it fights against international forces.  Several IMU members are also suspected of having traveled to Syria to fight with terrorist groups.

The IMU has had a decade-long relationship with al-Qa’ida (AQ), the Taliban, and Tehrik‑e Taliban Pakistan.  Top IMU leaders have integrated themselves into the Taliban’s shadow government in Afghanistan’s northern provinces.

In August 2015, IMU leader Usman Ghazi publicly announced the group’s shift of allegiance to ISIS.  Numerous IMU members, including possibly Ghazi himself, were subsequently reported to have been killed as a result of hostilities between ISIS and the IMU’s former Taliban allies.

Activities:  Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, the IMU has been predominantly focused on attacking international forces in Afghanistan.  In late 2009, NATO forces reported an increase in IMU-affiliated FTFs in Afghanistan.  In 2010, the IMU claimed responsibility for the September 19 ambush that killed 25 Tajik troops in Tajikistan.  On June 8, 2014, IMU claimed responsibility for an attack on Karachi’s international airport that resulted in the deaths of at least 39 people.

Throughout 2015, the IMU actively threatened the Afghan government, primarily in the northern part of the country.  In April 2015, the group released a video showing IMU members beheading an individual they claimed to be an Afghan soldier and threatened to behead Hazara (a historically persecuted ethnic group in Afghanistan) hostages, in supposed retaliation for the Afghan security forces capture of several female IMU members.  In 2016, Uzbek refugee Fazliddin Kurbanov was sentenced by a U.S. federal court to 25 years in prison for planning a bomb attack in Idaho.  Kurbanov had been in online contact with members of IMU, seeking advice on how to make explosives and discussing attacking U.S. military bases.

In June 2016, a faction of the IMU announced its continued commitment to the Taliban and AQ, marking a split with its leader Ghazi and the rest of the group, which announced its loyalty to ISIS in 2015 and has since cooperated with Islamic State’s Khorasan Province.  IMU did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2019.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Central Asia, and Turkey

Funding and External Aid:  The IMU receives support from a large Uzbek diaspora, terrorist organizations, and donors from Europe, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East.


Aka IRGC; The Iranian Revolutionary Guards; IRG; The Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution; AGIR; Pasdarn-e Enghelab-e Islami; Sepah-e Pasdaran Enghelab Islami; Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Eslami; Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enqelab-e Eslami; Pasdaran-e Inqilab; Revolutionary Guards; Revolutionary Guard; Sepah; Pasdaran; Sepah Pasdaran; Islamic Revolutionary Corps; Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps; Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps; Islamic Revolutionary Guards; Iran’s Revolutionary Guards; Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution.

Description:  Designated as an FTO on April 15, 2019, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), part of Iran’s official military, has played a central role in Iran’s use of terrorism as a key tool of Iranian statecraft since its inception 40 years ago.  The IRGC has been directly involved in terrorist plotting; its support for terrorism is foundational and institutional, and it has killed U.S. citizens.

The IRGC was founded in 1979 and since then has gained a substantial role in executing Iran’s foreign policy and wields control over vast segments of the economy.  The IRGC’s ties to nonstate armed groups in the region, such as Hizballah in Lebanon, help Iran compensate for its relatively weak conventional military forces.  Answering directly to the supreme leader, the corps is also influential in domestic politics, and many senior officials have passed through its ranks.

The IRGC is composed of five primary branches: the IRGC Ground Forces, IRGC Air Force, IRGC Navy, the Basij, and the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF).

Activities:  The IRGC – most prominently through its Qods Force (QF) – directs and carries out a global terrorist campaign.  The IRGC-QF in 2011 plotted a brazen terrorist attack against the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. on American soil.  In 2012, IRGC-QF operatives were arrested in Turkey and Kenya for plotting attacks.  An IRGC operative was convicted in March 2017 of espionage for a foreign intelligence service; he had been surveilling a German‑Israeli group.  In January 2018, Germany uncovered ten IRGC operatives involved in a terrorist plot in Germany.  In September 2018, a U.S. federal court found Iran and the IRGC liable for the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing which killed 19 Americans.  The QF is active in Syria in support of the Assad regime.

The IRGC-QF is Iran’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorist groups abroad.  The IRGC continues to provide financial and other material support, training, technology transfer, advanced conventional weapons, guidance, or direction to a broad range of terrorist organizations, including Hizballah, Kata’ib Hizballah in Iraq, al-Ashtar Brigades in Bahrain, and other terrorist groups in Syria and around the Gulf.  Iran also provides up to $100 million annually in combined support to Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas, PIJ, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

Strength:  The IRGC has upwards of 125,000 troops under its command.

Location/Area of Operation:  Iran, Iraq, Syria, Europe, and the Gulf

Funding and External Aid:  The IRGC-QF continues to engage in large-scale illicit financing schemes and money laundering to fund its malign activities.  In 2017, the IRGC-QF engineered a plot to produce counterfeit currency by deceiving European suppliers to procure advanced printing machinery and other necessary materials.  It then printed counterfeit Yemeni bank notes, which were used to support its destabilizing activities in Yemen.


Aka al-Qa’ida in Iraq; al-Qa’ida Group of Jihad in Iraq; al-Qa’ida Group of Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers; al-Qa’ida in Mesopotamia; al-Qa’ida in the Land of the Two Rivers; al-Qa’ida of Jihad in Iraq; al-Qa’ida of Jihad Organization in the Land of the Two Rivers; al-Qa’ida of the Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers; al-Tawhid; Jam’at al-Tawhid Wa’al-Jihad; Tanzeem Qa’idat al Jihad/Bilad al Raafidaini; Tanzim Qa’idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn; The Monotheism and Jihad Group; The Organization Base of Jihad/Country of the Two Rivers; The Organization Base of Jihad/Mesopotamia; The Organization of al-Jihad’s Base in Iraq; The Organization of al-Jihad’s Base in the Land of the Two Rivers; The Organization of al-Jihad’s Base of Operations in Iraq; The Organization of al-Jihad’s Base of Operations in the Land of the Two Rivers; The Organization of Jihad’s Base in the Country of the Two Rivers; al-Zarqawi Network; Islamic State of Iraq; Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham; Islamic State of Iraq and Syria; ad-Dawla al-Islamiyya fi al-’Iraq wa-sh-Sham; Daesh; Dawla al Islamiya; Al-Furqan Establishment for Media Production; Islamic State; ISIL; ISIS; Amaq News Agency; Al Hayat Media Center; Al-Hayat Media Center; Al Hayat

Description:  Al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) was designated as an FTO on December 17, 2004.  In the 1990s, Jordanian militant Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi organized a terrorist group called al‑Tawhid wal-Jihad to oppose the presence of U.S. and western military forces in the Middle East as well as the West’s support for, and the existence of, Israel.  In late 2004, Zarqawi joined al-Qa’ida (AQ) and pledged allegiance to Usama bin Laden.  At that time, his group became known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI).  Zarqawi led the group in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom to fight against U.S. and Coalition Forces until his death in June 2006.

In October 2006, AQI publicly renamed itself the Islamic State in Iraq.  In 2013, it adopted the moniker ISIS to express its regional ambitions as it expanded operations to include the Syrian conflict.  ISIS was led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who declared an Islamic caliphate in June 2014, until he was killed on October 27, 2019.  In October 2017, the U.S. military fighting with local Syrian allies announced the liberation of Raqqa, the self-declared capital of ISIS’s so‑called “caliphate.”  In December 2017, then Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced the territorial defeat of ISIS in Iraq.  In September 2018, the Syrian Democratic Forces, with support from the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS began a final push to oust ISIS fighters from the lower Middle Euphrates River Valley in Syria.  March 2019 marked the full territorial defeat of ISIS’s so-called caliphate.

Activities:  ISIS has conducted numerous high-profile attacks, including IED attacks against U.S. military personnel and Iraqi infrastructure, videotaped beheadings of U.S. citizens, suicide bombings against both military and civilian targets, and rocket attacks.  ISIS perpetrated these attacks using foreign, Iraqi, and Syrian operatives.  In 2014, ISIS was responsible for most of the 12,000 Iraqi civilian deaths that year.  ISIS is heavily involved in the fighting in Syria, and has participated in numerous kidnappings of civilians, including aid workers and journalists.  In 2015 and 2016, ISIS claimed responsibility for several large-scale attacks in Iraq and Syria.  In July 2016, ISIS claimed responsibility for a car bombing at a popular shopping center in Baghdad that killed nearly 300 people, making it the single deadliest bombing in Iraq’s capital city since 2003.

ISIS continued its attacks throughout 2017.  In February 2017, ISIS killed 56 people in a series of attacks in Baghdad.  In early April, the group killed 33 Syrians in eastern Syria, and on the same day, killed another 22 people in Tikrit, Iraq.  In June, ISIS gunmen and suicide bombers killed more than a dozen people in two separate attacks in Tehran, including an attack inside the Parliament building.  In September, ISIS killed over 80 people in Nasiriyah, Iraq, an area frequented by Shia Muslims on pilgrimage.

Since at least 2015, the group has integrated local children and children of FTFs into its forces and used them as executioners and suicide attackers.  ISIS has systematically prepared child soldiers in Iraq and Syria using its education and religious infrastructure as part of its training and recruitment of members.  Further, since 2015, ISIS abducted, raped, and abused thousands of women and children, some as young as eight years old.  Women and children were sold and enslaved, distributed to ISIS fighters as spoils of war, forced into marriage and domestic servitude, or subjected to physical and sexual abuse.  For further information, refer to the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report.

ISIS also directs, enables, and inspires individuals to conduct attacks on behalf of the group around the world, including in the United States and Europe.  In November 2015, ISIS carried out a series of coordinated attacks in Paris, France, including at a rock concert at the Bataclan concert hall, killing about 130 people and injuring more than 350 others; 23 year-old U.S. citizen Nohemi Gonzalez was among the dead.  In March 2016, ISIS directed two simultaneous attacks in Brussels, Belgium – one at the Zaventem Airport and the other at a metro station.  The attacks killed 32 people, including four U.S. citizens, and injured more than 250 people.  In June 2016, a gunman who pledged allegiance to ISIS killed 49 individuals and injured 53 others at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  In July 2016, ISIS claimed an attack in which a terrorist driving a cargo truck attacked a crowd in Nice, France, during Bastille Day celebrations, resulting in 86 deaths, including three U.S. citizens.  In December 2016, ISIS claimed responsibility for a truck attack on a crowded Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, that killed 12 people and injured 48 others.

In March 2017, ISIS claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack on London’s Westminster Bridge when a man drove his car into pedestrians and stabbed others, killing five people.  In early April 2017, a man who claimed to be a member of ISIS drove a truck into a crowded shopping center in Stockholm, Sweden, killing five and injuring many more.  In May 2017, ISIS claimed a suicide bombing in Manchester, England, that killed 22 people outside of a live concert.

In July 2018, ISIS attacked the city of Suweida and nearby towns and villages in southwestern Syria, conducting multiple suicide bombings and simultaneous raids in a brutal offensive, killing more than 200 people.

In January 2019, ISIS claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing of a restaurant in Manbij, Syria that killed 19 people, including four Americans.  That same month, ISIS reportedly launched a missile attack that seriously wounded two British commandos in eastern Syria.  On Easter Sunday 2019, over 250 people were killed in Sri Lanka when ISIS inspired terrorists carried out coordinated suicide bombings at multiple churches and hotels.  In August, ISIS claimed responsibility for killing a U.S. service member while he was participating in a combat operation in Ninawa Province, Iraq.  In November, ISIS claimed responsibility for a stabbing attack near the London Bridge in which a man killed two people and injured three others.  Also in November, ISIS claimed responsibility for a November 6 attack on a border post in Tajikistan that killed four Tajik service members and 15 militants.

Strength:  Estimates suggest ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria number between 11,000 and 18,000, including several thousand FTFs.

Location/Area of Operation:  Iraq and Syria, with branches and networks around the world.

Funding and External Aid:  ISIS received most of its funding from a variety of criminal activities in Iraq and Syria.  Criminal activities included extortion of civilian economies, smuggling oil, and robberies.  ISIS also maintains stockpiles of as much as hundreds of millions of dollars scattered across Iraq and Syria it looted during its occupation of those countries in 2013 to 2019.   ISIS continues to rely on trusted courier networks and money services businesses to move its financial resources within and outside of Iraq and Syria.  Before ISIS’s territorial defeat, targeted counterterrorism operations and airstrikes served to sever critical financial networks, reduce the group’s cash reserves in Iraq and Syria, and degrade ISIS’s ability to exploit local resources such as oil. The territorial defeat of ISIS which eliminated its control of territory in Syria in 2019 reduced ISIS’s ability to generate, hold, and transfer its financial assets.  Despite this, ISIS continues to generate revenue from criminal activities through its many clandestine networks in Iraq and Syria, and provides significant financial support and guidance to its network of global branches and affiliates.

ISIS has increased its presence outside the conflict zone in Iraq and Syria. In particular, ISIS core creates financial and logistical hubs in Central and East Africa, North Africa, and West Africa. ISIS also announced that the group had established two new branches in Pakistan and India.


Aka Caliphate in Bangladesh, Caliphate’s Soldiers in Bangladesh, Soldiers of the Caliphate in Bangladesh, Khalifa’s Soldiers in Bengal, Islamic State Bangladesh, Islamic State in Bangladesh, ISB, ISISB, Abu Jandal al-Bangali, Neo-JMB, New JMB, Neo-Jammat-ul Mujahadeen-Bangladesh

Description:  ISIS-Bangladesh was designated as an FTO on February 28, 2018.  Created in 2014, ISIS-Bangladesh has described itself as ISIS’s official branch in Bangladesh and was born out of ISIS’s desire to expand its campaign to the Indian Subcontinent.  Coinciding with the announcement of the caliphate in Iraq and Syria, a group of Bangladeshi nationals pledged allegiance to ISIS and vowed to organize Bengali Muslims under the leadership of then-ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Activities:  In September 2015, gunmen belonging to ISIS-Bangladesh shot and killed an Italian aid worker in Dhaka.  In December 2015, ISIS-Bangladesh claimed responsibility for injuring 10 people during a Christmas Day suicide attack at a mosque packed with Ahmadi Muslims.  In July 2016, the group claimed responsibility for an assault on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka that killed 22 people, including one American.  In March 2017, ISIS-Bangladesh claimed responsibility for twin explosions that targeted a crowd in Sylhet, Bangladesh, killing six people.

In April and May 2019, ISIS-Bangladesh claimed responsibility for two explosions in Dhaka that injured four police officers and two civilians.  In August, ISIS-Bangladesh claimed responsibility for a small bomb thrown at a Bangladeshi minister in Dhaka, which injured two police officers.  In September, the group claimed responsibility for an explosion outside Awami League office in Khulna.

Strength:  ISIS-Bangladesh has several hundred armed supporters.

Location/Area of Operation:  Bangladesh

Funding and External Aid:  Although ISIS-Bangladesh’s sources of funding are largely unknown, the group does receive some support from ISIS.


Aka ISIS in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS); Islamic State in the Greater Sahel (ISGS); Islamic State in the Greater Sahara; Islamic State of the Greater Sahel; ISIS in the Greater Sahel; ISIS in the Islamic Sahel

Description:  ISIS in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS) was designated as an FTO on May 23, 2018.  ISIS-GS emerged when leader Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi and his followers split from al‑Murabitoun.  Al-Sahrawi first pledged allegiance to ISIS in May 2015, which was acknowledged by ISIS in October 2016.

Activities:  In September 2016, ISIS-GS claimed responsibility for an attack on a gendarmerie post in Markoye, Burkina Faso, that killed two people.  In October 2016, ISIS-GS claimed responsibility for an attack on a military post in Intangom, Burkina Faso, that killed three Burkinabe soldiers.

In October 2017, ISIS-GS claimed responsibility for an attack on a joint U.S.-Nigerien patrol in the region of Tongo, Niger, which killed four U.S. soldiers and five Nigerien soldiers.  In 2018, ISIS-GS was reportedly involved in numerous skirmishes and attacks in Mali and Niger, including those in May that targeted French troops and civilians. In 2019, ISIS-GS continued to intensify their rate of attacks, including an attack in November on a Malian military base that killed 54 soldiers.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso

Funding and External Aid:  Sources of funding are unknown.


Aka Islamic State’s Khorasan Province; ISIS Wilayat Khorasan; ISIL’s South Asia Branch; South Asian Chapter of ISIL

Description:  Islamic State’s Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) was designated as an FTO on January 14, 2016.  The group is based in Afghanistan, conducts operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and is composed primarily of former members of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, the Afghan Taliban, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.  ISIS-K’s senior leadership has pledged allegiance to then-ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which was accepted in late January 2015.  The group has carried out suicide bombings, small arms attacks, and kidnappings in Afghanistan against civilians and Afghan National Security and Defense Forces.  ISIS-K has also claimed responsibility for attacks on civilians and government officials in Pakistan.

Activities:  In January 2016, ISIS-K claimed a strike on a Pakistani consulate in Afghanistan, resulting in the deaths of seven Afghan security personnel.  In July 2016, the group conducted a bomb attack at a peaceful protest in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed an estimated 80 people and wounded another 230.  In August 2016, ISIS-K claimed a shooting and suicide bombing at a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, targeting lawyers, which killed 94.  The group also claimed responsibility for a November 2016 suicide bombing at the Shah Noorani Shrine in Balochistan province, Pakistan, killing more than 50 people.

In July 2017, ISIS-K attacked the Iraqi Embassy in Kabul, killing two people, and bombed a mosque in western Afghanistan, killing 29 people and injuring 60 others.  Between October and December of 2017, ISIS-K claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks in Kabul, including those targeting a television station, a Shia cultural center, and an Afghan intelligence office near the U.S. embassy.

ISIS-K also claimed multiple attacks in Pakistan in 2017, including an attack on a Sufi shrine in Sindh province in February that killed at least 88 people, an attack on a church in Quetta that killed at least nine people, and a July attack on an election rally in Balochistan province that killed 149 people.  In September 2018, ISIS-K claimed responsibility for a double suicide bombing in a Shiite majority neighborhood in Kabul, leaving more than 20 dead and 70 injured.

In April 2019, ISIS-K claimed responsibility for an attack at the Ministry of Communications in Kabul, killing seven people.  In August 2019, ISIS-K claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a wedding hall in a Shiite minority neighborhood in Kabul, killing 80 people and injuring 154 others.  In October 2019, an ISIS-K bombing of a mosque in Nangarhar province killed at least 70 people.  In November 2019, ISIS-K suffered a series of major defeats and lost much of its territory in Nangahar in the face of attacks by both the coalition and Taliban forces.

Strength:  ISIS-K is estimated to have approximately 1,000 fighters.

Location/Area of Operation:  Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia

Funding and External Aid:  ISIS-K receives some funding from ISIS.  Additional funds come from illicit criminal commerce, taxes, and extortion on the local population and businesses.


Aka Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-Libya; Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Libya; Wilayat Barqa; Wilayat Fezzan; Wilayat Tripolitania; Wilayat Tarablus; Wilayat al-Tarabulus

Description:  The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-Libya (ISIL-Libya) was designated as an FTO on May 20, 2016.  In 2014, then-ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi dispatched a group of ISIS operatives from Syria to Libya to establish a branch of the terrorist group.  In October 2014, several hundred operatives set up a base in Darnah, and the following month, Baghdadi formally established the branch after announcing he had accepted oaths of allegiance from fighters in Libya.

Activities:  Since becoming established, ISIS-Libya has carried out multiple attacks throughout Libya and has threatened to expand ISIS’s presence into other countries in Africa.  In January 2015, ISIL-Libya claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a luxury hotel in Tripoli, Libya, that killed eight people, including a U.S. contractor.

In February 2015, ISIL-Libya released a propaganda video showing the murder of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who had been kidnapped from Sirte, Libya, in two separate incidents in December 2014 and January 2015.  That same month, ISIL-Libya claimed responsibility for bomb attacks against a petrol station, a police station, and the home of parliamentary speaker Agila Salah in the town of al-Qubbah.  These attacks killed more than 40 people and wounded dozens of others.

In 2016, ISIL-Libya expanded operations into Libya’s oil crescent, launching attacks on some of the country’s largest oil installations:  burning oil tanks, killing dozens, and forcing facilities to shut down operations.  In December, Libyan forces drove ISIL-Libya from its main stronghold in Sirte and into the desert areas and neighboring cities.

In May 2018, ISIL-Libya claimed responsibility for an attack on Libya’s electoral commission headquarters in Tripoli that killed 14 people.  In September, ISIL-Libya claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on Libya’s National Oil Company headquarters that left two dead and 10 others wounded.  In October, ISIL-Libya was implicated in an attack on a town in central Libya that resulted in five people killed and 10 others kidnapped.  In December, ISIL-Libya claimed responsibility for an attack on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that killed three people.

In May 2019, ISIL-Libya claimed responsibility for a number of attacks on the Libyan National Army (LNA).  These included a dawn assault on a military training camp in the southern city of Sebha which killed at least nine soldiers and an attack on the town of Zillah in which three soldiers were killed and four captured.

Strength:  ISIL-Libya is estimated to have fewer than 500 fighters.

Location/Area of Operation:  Libya

Funding and External Aid:  ISIL-Libya’s funding comes from a variety of sources, including criminal activity, such as smuggling and extortion, and external funding.  The group also receives support from ISIS.


Aka ISIS in the Philippines; ISIL Philippines; ISIL in the Philippines; IS Philippines; ISP; Islamic State in the Philippines; Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in South-east Asia; Dawlatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Masrik (DIWM); Dawlatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Mashriq; IS East Asia Division; ISIS Branch in the Philippines; ISIS’ Philippines province

Description:  ISIS-Philippines (ISIS-P) was designated as an FTO on February 28, 2018.  In July 2014, militants in the Philippines pledged allegiance to ISIS in support of ISIS’s efforts in the region under the command of now-deceased leader Isnilon Hapilon.  Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan is the current leader of ISIS-P, and the organization has ties to elements of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Activities: In May 2016, ISIS-P claimed responsibility for an attack on Basilan Island, which killed one solider and injured another.  In 2017, ISIS-P participated in five months of fighting in Marawi that claimed more than 1,000 lives and forced more than 300,000 residents to flee the area.  In July 2018, ISIS-P claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack on a military checkpoint in Basilan that killed 10 people.  In January 2019, ISIS-P claimed responsibility for the Jolo cathedral bombing in Sulu, a complex suicide attack carried out by an Indonesian couple during mass, killing 23 people and wounding more than100 others.

Strength:  ISIS-P is estimated to have a small cadre of fighters in the southern Philippines, but exact numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  The Philippines

Funding and External Aid:  ISIS-P receives financial assistance from ISIS in Syria and receives funds from local extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom groups.


Aka Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis; Ansar Jerusalem; Supporters of Jerusalem; Ansar Bayt al-Maqdes; Ansar Beit al-Maqdis; Islamic State-Sinai Province; Islamic State in the Sinai; Jamaat Ansar Beit al-Maqdis fi Sinaa; Sinai Province; Supporters of the Holy Place; The State of Sinai; Wilayat Sinai

Description:  Originally designated as an FTO on April 9, 2014, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM, as it was known then) rose to prominence in 2011 following the uprisings in Egypt.  In November 2014, ABM officially declared allegiance to ISIS.  In September 2015, the Department of State amended ABM’s designation to add the aliases ISIL Sinai Province and Islamic State-Sinai Province (ISIS-SP), among others.

Activities:  Prior to pledging allegiance to ISIS, ABM claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against Israeli and Egyptian interests from 2012 through 2014, including attacks on Israeli economic and military assets, as well as attacks on the Egyptian military and tourist sectors.  On November 4, 2015, ISIS-SP released an audio recording in which it claimed responsibility for the October 31 bombing of a Russian passenger plane carrying 231 people from the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, Russia.  All 224 passengers and seven crew members were killed.

On August 5, 2015, ISIS-SP claimed responsibility for the July 22 abduction and killing of Croatian citizen Tomislav Salopek.

Throughout 2016, ISIS-SP carried out numerous attacks in the Sinai, including a January double bombing that killed two Egyptian policemen and two military officers.  The group was responsible for a July 2016 wide-scale coordinated attack on several military checkpoints that reportedly killed more than 50 people.  On December 11, 2016, an attack on St. Mark’s Cathedral, a Coptic Christian church in Cairo, killed 29 people.

In 2017, ISIS-SP attacked two Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday (April 9), killing 30 people at St. George’s Church in Tanta and killing 17 people at St. Mark’s Church in Alexandria.  In May 2017, the group’s attack on a bus of pilgrims en route to St. Samuel the Confessor, a Coptic monastery near Minya, killed 29 people.  In September 2017, ISIS-SP attacked an Egyptian police convoy in an ambush that killed 18 soldiers.  In November 2017, an attack on the al-Rawda mosque in North Sinai – Egypt’s deadliest in modern history – killed more than 300 individuals at prayer.  While the attack was unclaimed, press reported the Egyptian Prosecutor General’s office as attributing the attack to ISIS-SP and alleging that attackers carried an ISIS flag.  The group’s December 2017 attack on St. Mina, a Coptic Christian church near Cairo, killed 11 people.

ISIS-SP attacked an Egyptian army base in April 2018 and attacked an Egyptian police checkpoint in December 2018, killing 15 soldiers in each attack.  On November 2, 2018, the group’s attack on a bus of pilgrims traveling from St. Samuel the Confessor killed seven and wounded 14 others.

In 2019, ISIS-SP claimed responsibility for multiple attacks on Egyptian police and army checkpoints in the Sinai.  In February, ISIS-SP killed 15 Egyptian soldiers and killed eight Egyptian policemen in June.  In July, ISIS-SP claimed responsibility for beheading four civilians and for a suicide bombing in North Sinai that killed a civilian and a member of the security forces.

Strength:  ISIS-SP is estimated to have between 800 and 1,200 fighters in the Sinai Peninsula and affiliated cells in the Nile Valley.

Location/Area of Operation:  Egypt

Funding and External Aid:  Although the sources of ISIS-SP’s funding are largely unknown, there are indications that it may receive funding from ISIS in Syria.


Aka Islamic State West Africa Province; ISISWAP; Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-West Africa; ISIL-WA; Islamic State of Iraq and Syria West Africa Province; ISIS West Africa Province; ISIS West Africa; ISIS-WA

Description:  ISIS-West Africa (ISIS-WA) was designated as an FTO on February 28, 2018.  In March 2015, a faction of Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIS in an audiotape message.  ISIS accepted the group’s pledge and the group began calling itself ISIS-West Africa.  In August 2016, ISIS announced that Abu Musab al-Barnawi was to become the new leader of ISIS-WA.

Activities:  ISIS-WA has been responsible for numerous attacks in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region since 2016.  In January 2017, ISIS-WA conducted a midnight attack against Nigerian troops in the village of Kamuya, killing three Nigerian soldiers.

In February 2018, ISIS-WA abducted a Christian student in Nigeria and in March 2018, the group kidnapped three aid workers during an attack that killed dozens of other people. ISIS-WA killed one of the three aid workers in September 2018 and another in October. In November 2018, ISIS-WA claimed responsibility for five attacks in Chad and Nigeria that resulted in 118 deaths.

In February 2019, ISIS-WA attacked the convoy of the then-Governor of Borno State as it drove from the capital of Maiduguri to a town near Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, killing as many as 10.  In May 2019, ISIS-WA claimed responsibility for two attacks in western Niger, ambushing Niger Army soldiers in Tongo resulting in 28 deaths, while also attacking Niger security forces near the Koutoukale prison that killed one soldier.

In July 2019, ISIS-WA fighters launched an attack against a military base near Baga in the Lake Chad area, killing 20 Nigerian and five Chadian soldiers.  Also in July, ISIS-WA attacked a convoy of Action Against Hunger (AAH) and Nigerian health ministry employees in Borno.  One AAH driver was killed, while one AAH staff member, two drivers, and three health ministry workers remained missing, reportedly taken as hostages.  On September 25, media reported ISIS-WA said it executed one of the missing aid workers.  On December 13, ISIS-WA said it killed four of the five remaining hostages.  On December 26, ISIS-WA released a video showing the execution of 11 reported Christians and claimed the killings were revenge for the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Strength:  ISIS-WA has an estimated 3,500 members.

Location/Area of Operation:  Nigeria and the greater Lake Chad region

Funding and External Aid:  ISIS-WA receives funding from local sources, the capture of military supplies, taxes, and kidnapping-for-ransom payments.


Aka Jamaat Nosrat al-Islam wal-Mouslimin; Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims; Group to Support Islam and Muslims; GSIM; GNIM; Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen

Description:  Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) was designated as an FTO on September 6, 2018.  JNIM has described itself as al-Qa’ida’s official branch in Mali and has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks and kidnappings since its formation in March 2017.  In 2017, the Sahara Branch of al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Murabitoun, Ansar al-Dine, and the Macina Liberation Front came together to form JNIM.  JNIM is led by Iyad ag Ghali.  JNIM’s second in command, Ali Maychou, was killed in October 2019.

Activities:  In June 2017, JNIM carried out an attack at a resort frequented by Westerners outside of Bamako, Mali, and was responsible for the large-scale coordinated attacks in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on March 2, 2018.

In June 2018, JNIM claimed responsibility for a suicide attack against an African Coalition base in Mali that killed at least six people.  In July 2018, JNIM claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Gao, Mali, which targeted a French military patrol and killed several civilians.  In November 2018, JNIM claimed responsibility for the detonation of a truck bomb in a residential complex in Gao, killing three and injuring 30.

In January 2019, JNIM claimed responsibility for an attack against a UN base in Northern Mali, killing 10 Chadian peacekeepers and wounding 25 others.  In April, JNIM claimed responsibility for an assault on a Malian military base, killing 11 soldiers.  In September, JNIM detonated a landmine under a passenger bus in central Mali, killing 14 civilians and injuring another 24.

Strength:  JNIM is estimated to have between 1,000 and 2,000 fighters.

Location/Area of Operation:  Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger

Funding and External Aid:  JNIM receives funding through kidnapping-for-ransom and extortion and from smugglers and traffickers who pay a tax in exchange for permission and safe transit through JNIM-controlled trafficking routes in Mali.


Aka Ansaru; Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan; Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa; JAMBS; Jama’atu Ansaril Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan

Description:  Designated as an FTO on November 14, 2013, Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis-Sudan (Ansaru) publicly splintered from Boko Haram in January 2012.  Since its inception, Ansaru has targeted civilians, including Westerners, and Nigerian government and security officials.  Ansaru purportedly aims to defend Muslims throughout Africa by fighting against the Nigerian government and international interests.  Ansaru claims to identify with Boko Haram’s objectives and struggle, but has criticized the group for killing fellow Muslims.

Activities:  In November 2012, Ansaru raided a police station in Abuja, killing Nigerian police officers and freeing detained terrorists from prison.  Ansaru has also carried out multiple kidnapping operations targeting civilians.  In late 2012, Ansaru kidnapped a French engineer allegedly in response to French involvement in Mali.  In early 2013, Ansaru kidnapped and subsequently killed seven international construction workers.

On April 4, 2016, the Nigerian army announced the capture of Ansaru leader Khalid al-Barnawi.  Ansaru did not publicly claim responsibility any attacks in 2019, but in October 2019, Ansaru announced the creation of a new media outlet for the group.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown; however, given its narrower scope of operations, Ansaru’s membership is estimated to be much smaller than that of Boko Haram.

Location/Area of Operation:  Nigeria

Funding and External Aid:  Sources of funding are unknown.


Aka Army of Mohammed; Mohammed’s Army; Tehrik ul-Furqaan; Khuddam-ul-Islam; Khudamul Islam; Kuddam e Islami; Jaish-i-Mohammed

Description:  Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) was designated as an FTO on December 26, 2001.  JeM was founded in early 2000 by former senior Harakat ul-Mujahideen leader Masood Azhar.  The group aims to annex the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan and expel international forces from Afghanistan.  JeM has openly declared war against the United States.

Activities:  JeM continues to operate openly in parts of Pakistan, conducting fatal attacks in the region, despite the country’s 2002 ban on its activities.  JeM has claimed responsibility for several suicide car bombings in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, including an October 2001 suicide attack on the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly building in Srinagar that killed more than 30 people.  The Indian government publicly implicated JeM, along with Lashkar e-Tayyiba, in the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament that killed nine people and injured 18 others.

In 2002, Pakistani authorities arrested and convicted a JeM member for the abduction and murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl.  In December 2003, Pakistan implicated JeM members in two assassination attempts against then-President Pervez Musharraf.

In 2016, Indian officials blamed JeM for a January attack on an Indian Air Force base in Pathankot that killed one civilian and seven Indian security force personnel.  In June 2017, Indian police stated that JeM had conducted multiple attacks against security forces across the state of Jammu and Kashmir, injuring more than a dozen people.

In February 2018, JeM claimed responsibility for killing nine Indian officers at the Sunjuwan military station.  In December 2018, several JeM militants stormed a police outpost in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir killing four police officers and injuring one other.  In February 2019, JeM claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed 40 personnel from India’s Central Reserve Police Force in the city of Pulwama in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Strength:  JeM has several hundred armed supporters.

Location/Area of Operation:  India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan

Funding and External Aid:  To avoid asset seizures by the Pakistani government, since 2007 JeM has withdrawn funds from bank accounts and invested in legal businesses, such as commodity trading, real estate, and the production of consumer goods.  JeM also collects funds through donation requests, sometimes using charitable causes to solicit donations.


Aka Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order; Armed Men of the Naqshabandi Order; Naqshbandi Army; Naqshabandi Army; Men of the Army of al-Naqshbandia Way; Jaysh Rajal al-Tariqah al-Naqshbandia; JRTN; JRN; AMNO

Description:  Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshabandi (JRTN) was designated as an FTO in September 30, 2015.  The group first announced insurgency operations against international forces in Iraq in December 2006 in response to the execution of Saddam Hussein.  Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, former vice president of Saddam Hussein’s Revolutionary Council, leads the group, which consists of former Baath Party officials, military personnel, and Sunni nationalists.  JRTN aims to overthrow the Government of Iraq, install a new Ba’athist regime, and end external influence in Baghdad.

Activities:  Between its founding in 2006 and the 2011 withdrawal of Coalition Forces from Iraq, JRTN claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on U.S. bases and forces.  JRTN also is known to have used VBIEDs against Iraqi government security forces.

In 2014, elements of JRTN joined military forces with ISIS in opposition to the Iraqi government.  JRTN played a major role in the capture of Mosul from Iraqi security forces in 2014.  However, fissures between ISIS and JRTN quickly emerged after ISIS’s advance in Baiji and Tikrit.  Although some elements of JRTN splintered off, the majority of the organization was subsumed by ISIS.  JRTN did not claim responsibility for any attacks between 2016 and 2019.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Iraq

Funding and External Aid:  JRTN has received funding from former regime members, major tribal figures in Iraq, and from Gulf-based financiers of terrorism.


Aka JAT; Jemmah Ansharut Tauhid; Jem’mah Ansharut Tauhid; Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid; Jama’ah Ansharut Tauhid; Laskar 99; JAT

Description:  Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) was designated as an FTO on March 13, 2012.  Formed in 2008, the Indonesia-based group seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate in Indonesia and has carried out numerous attacks on Indonesian government personnel, police, military, and civilians.  In 2011, Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, the founder and leader of JAT, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in organizing a militant training camp in Aceh.  Ba’asyir is also the co-founder and former leader of Jemaah Islamiya (JI).  JAT maintains ties to JI and other terrorist groups in Southeast Asia.

Activities:  JAT has conducted multiple attacks targeting civilians and Indonesian officials, resulting in the deaths of numerous Indonesian police and innocent civilians.  In December 2012, four police officers were killed and two wounded in an attack by suspected local JAT members in central Sulawesi.  Since Abu Bakar Ba’asyir’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS in 2014, many JAT members have joined Indonesia’s ISIS-affiliated groups, while others have joined al-Qa’ida-affiliated groups.  Although JAT did not claim responsibility for any attacks between 2016 and 2019, JAT members are believed to have been involved in ISIS operations in Southeast Asia.

Strength:  JAT is estimated to have several thousand supporters and members.  Internal disagreements over aligning with ISIS have likely reduced its membership.

Location/Area of Operation:  Indonesia

Funding and External Aid:  JAT raises funds through membership donations and legitimate business activities.  JAT also has conducted cyber hacking, robbed banks, and carried out other illicit activities to fund the purchase of assault weapons, ammunition, explosives, and bomb-making materials.


Aka Jemaa Islamiyah; Jema’a Islamiyah; Jemaa Islamiyya; Jema’a Islamiyya; Jemaa

Islamiyyah; Jema’a Islamiyyah; Jemaah Islamiah; Jemaah Islamiyah; Jema’ah Islamiyah; Jemaah Islamiyyah; Jema’ah Islamiyyah; JI

Description:  Designated as an FTO on October 23, 2002, Jemaah Islamiya (JI) is a Southeast Asia-based terrorist group co-founded by Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Ba’asyir.  The group seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate in the region.  More than 400 JI operatives have been captured or killed since 2002, including operations chief and al-Qa’ida associate Hambali and, in January 2015, bomb-maker Zulfiki bin Hir (aka Marwan).

Activities:  Significant JI attacks include the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed more than 200 people, among them seven U.S. citizens; the August 2003 bombing of the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta; the September 2004 bombing outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta; and the October 2005 suicide bombing in Bali, which killed 26 people.

In July 2009, a JI faction claimed responsibility for suicide attacks on the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta that killed seven people and injured more than 50, including seven U.S. citizens.

In January 2015, 44 policemen and three civilians were killed during a raid targeting two JI members in Mamasapano on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines.

In June 2019, Indonesian authorities arrested several JI members, including its emir Para Wijayanto.  Indonesian police said that between 2013 and 2018, under Wijayanto’s leadership, JI sent at least six groups to Syria for military training or to participate in the fighting.

JI did not claim responsibility for any terrorist attacks between 2016 and 2019.

Strength:  Estimates of JI membership vary from 500 to several thousand members.

Location/Area of Operation:  Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines

Funding and External Aid:  JI fundraises through membership donations, criminal actions, and business activities.  The group has received financial, ideological, and logistical support from Middle Eastern contacts and illegitimate charities and organizations.


Aka People’s Resistance Movement of Iran (PMRI); Jonbesh-i Moqavemat-i-Mardom-i Iran; Popular Resistance Movement of Iran; Soldiers of God; Fedayeen-e-Islam; Former Jundallah of Iran; Jundallah; Jundullah; Jondullah; Jundollah; Jondollah; Jondallah; Army of God (God’s Army); Baloch Peoples Resistance Movement (BPRM); Jeysh al-Adl; Army of Justice; Jaish ul-Adl; Jaish al-Adl; Jaish Aladl; Jeish al-Adl

Description:  Jaysh al-Adl was designated as an FTO on November 4, 2010, under the name Jundallah.  Since its inception in 2003, Jaysh al-Adl, has engaged in numerous attacks, killing and maiming scores of Iranian civilians and government officials.  The group’s stated goals are to secure recognition of Balochi cultural, economic, and political rights from the Government of Iran, and to spread awareness of the plight of the Baloch people.  The group adopted the name Jaysh al-Adl in 2012 and has since claimed responsibility for attacks under that name.

Activities:  Jaysh al-Adl claimed responsibility for an October 2009 suicide bomb attack in the Sistan va Balochistan province that killed more than 40 people and was reportedly the deadliest terrorist attack in Iran since the 1980s.  In a statement on its website, Jaysh al-Adl claimed responsibility for the December 15, 2010, suicide bomb attack inside the Iman Hussein Mosque in Chabahar, which killed an estimated 35 to 40 civilians and wounded 60 to 100.  In July 2010, Jaysh al-Adl attacked the Grand Mosque in Zahedan, killing about 30 people and injuring an estimated 300.  In June 2018, Jaysh al-Adl, reportedly killed three Iranian security personnel while trying to enter Iran from Pakistan.  In October 2018, Jaysh al-Adl claimed responsibility for abducting 12 Iranian security personnel on the border with Pakistan.  In February 2019, Jaysh al-Adl claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing in southeastern Iran that killed 27 Iranian government officials.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan

Funding and External Aid:  Sources of support are unknown.


Aka American Friends of the United Yeshiva; American Friends of Yeshivat Rav Meir; Committee for the Safety of the Roads; Dikuy Bogdim; DOV; Forefront of the Idea; Friends of the Jewish Idea Yeshiva; Jewish Legion; Judea Police; Judean Congress; Kach; Kahane; Kahane Lives; Kahane Tzadak;;; Kfar Tapuah Fund; Koach; Meir’s Youth; New Kach Movement;; No’ar Meir; Repression of Traitors; State of Judea; Sword of David; The Committee Against Racism and Discrimination (CARD); The Hatikva Jewish Identity Center; The International Kahane Movement; The Jewish Idea Yeshiva; The Judean Legion; The Judean Voice; The Qomemiyut Movement; The Rabbi Meir David Kahane Memorial Fund; The Voice of Judea; The Way of the Torah; The Yeshiva of the Jewish Idea; Yeshivat Harav Meir

Description:  Kahane Chai (KC) was designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997.  Radical Israeli-American Rabbi Meir Kahane founded Kach – the precursor to KC – with the aim of restoring Greater Israel (Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza).  Its offshoot, Kahane Chai (translation: “Kahane Lives”), was founded by Meir Kahane’s son Binyamin, following his father’s 1990 assassination.  In 1994, the group was banned from running in Israeli elections.

Activities:  KC has harassed and threatened Arabs, Palestinians, and Israeli government officials and vowed revenge for the December 2000 death of Binyamin Kahane and his wife.  The group is suspected of involvement in a number of low-level attacks dating back to the start of the Second Palestinian Intifada in 2000.  KC was last linked to an attack in 2005, when one of its members killed four people on a bus in Shfaram, Israel.

Strength:  KC’s core membership has been estimated to be fewer than 100.

Location/Area of Operation:  Israel and the West Bank

Funding and External Aid:  KC has received support from sympathizers in the United States and Europe.


Aka Hizballah Brigades; Hizballah Brigades in Iraq; Hizballah Brigades-Iraq; Kata’ib Hezbollah; Khata’ib Hezbollah; Khata’ib Hizballah; Khattab Hezballah; Hizballah Brigades-Iraq of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq; Islamic Resistance in Iraq; Kata’ib Hizballah Fi al-Iraq; Katibat Abu Fathel al-A’abas; Katibat Zayd Ebin Ali; Katibut Karbalah

Description:  Formed in 2006 as an anti-Western Shia group, Kata’ib Hizballah (KH) was designated as an FTO on July 2, 2009.  Prior to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011, the group conducted attacks against U.S., Iraqi, and Coalition targets in Iraq and threatened the lives of Iraqi politicians and civilians supporting the legitimate political process in Iraq.  KH is notable for its extensive use of media operations and propaganda, such as filming and releasing videos of attacks.  KH has ideological ties to and receives support from Iran.

Activities:  KH has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks since 2007, including IED attacks, rocket-propelled grenade attacks, and sniper operations.  In 2007, KH gained notoriety for its attacks against U.S. and Coalition Forces in Iraq.  In June 2011, five U.S. soldiers were killed in Baghdad when KH assailants fired multiple rockets at U.S. military base, Camp Victory.  The group remained active in 2015, fighting in Syria in support of the Assad regime and in Iraq against ISIS.

In 2016, KH continued to fight ISIS alongside the Iraqi army, but operated outside the Iraqi government’s command-and-control structure.  In 2017, the group threatened to fight “American occupiers” in Iraq in an article published on the group’s official website.  In 2018, the group issued a warning statement threatening the U.S. presence in Iraq in retaliation for a non-Coalition airstrike that hit KH members in Syria.

In June 2019, KH members stormed the Bahraini embassy in Baghdad in protest of Bahrain hosting America’s Israel-Palestine conference.  In October 2019, KH was reportedly involved in sniper operations against Iraqi protestors.  On December 27, KH was blamed for a rocket attack on K-1 Air Base in Kirkuk that killed one U.S. citizen.  On December 31, members of KH broke into the U.S. Embassy compound and participated in a violent attack against the facility, setting fires inside which destroyed security checkpoints and reception rooms.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Iraq and Syria

Funding and External Aid:  KH depends heavily on support from Iran.


Aka the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress; the Freedom and Democracy Congress of Kurdistan; KADEK; Partiya Karkeran Kurdistan; the People’s Defense Force; Halu Mesru Savunma Kuvveti; Kurdistan People’s Congress; People’s Congress of Kurdistan; KONGRA-GEL

Description:  Founded by Abdullah Ocalan in 1978 as a Marxist-Leninist separatist organization, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997.  The group, composed primarily of Turkish Kurds, launched a campaign of violence in 1984.  The PKK’s original goal was to establish an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey.

Activities:  In the early 1990s, the PKK moved beyond rural-based insurgent activities to engage in urban terrorism.  Anatolia became the scene of significant violence, with some estimates suggesting at least 40,000 casualties.  The PKK foreswore violence from 1999 until June 2004, when its hardline militant wing took control and renounced the self-imposed cease-fire.  In 2009, the Turkish government and the PKK resumed peace negotiations, but talks broke down after the PKK carried out an attack in July 2011 that killed 13 Turkish soldiers.  In 2012, the PKK claimed responsibility for multiple car bombings that killed more than 10 people.  Between December 2012 and July 2015, the Turkish government and the PKK resumed peace negotiations, but the negotiations ultimately broke down – owing partly to domestic political pressures and the war in Syria.

Between January and mid-July 2015, the PKK carried out small-scale armed attacks against Turkey’s security forces and military bases.  In August 2016, the group claimed a VBIED strike against Sirnak police headquarters, which killed 11 people and wounded more than 70 others.  In 2017, Turkish officials blamed the PKK for a car bomb and shooting outside of a courthouse that killed two people and a June attack on a military convoy that killed more than 20 soldiers.

In 2018, numerous attacks by the PKK were reported against Turkey’s security forces, including an attack claimed by the PKK in November against a Turkish army base, which resulted in dozens of causalities.  On September 12, 2018, a roadside bomb struck a bus carrying workers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, killing seven and wounding 13 in Diyarbakir province’s Kulp district.  The government blamed the PKK for the attack.

In 2019, the PKK engaged in terrorist attacks in eastern and western Turkey, when the PKK struck over the border from its bases within Iraq.  In September, the PKK attacked a Turkish military vehicle in Hakkari province, killing two soldiers and wounding another.  In July, the PKK was accused of assassinating a senior Turkish diplomat in Erbil, Iraq.

Strength:  The PKK is estimated to consist of 4,000 to 5,000 members

Location/Area of Operation:  Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria

Funding and External Aid:  The PKK receives financial support from the large Kurdish diaspora in Europe.


Aka al Mansooreen; Al Mansoorian; Army of the Pure; Army of the Pure and Righteous; Army of the Righteous; Lashkar e-Toiba; Lashkar-i-Taiba; Paasban-e-Ahle-Hadis; Paasban-e-Kashmir; Paasban-i-Ahle-Hadith; Pasban-e-Ahle-Hadith; Pasban-e-Kashmir; Jamaat-ud-Dawa; JUD; Jama’at al-Dawa; Jamaat ud-Daawa; Jamaat ul-Dawah; Jamaat-ul-Dawa; Jama’at-i-Dawat; Jamaiat-ud-Dawa; Jama’at-ud-Da’awah; Jama’at-ud-Da’awa; Jamaati-ud-Dawa; Idara Khidmate-Khalq; Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation; FiF; Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation; FalaheInsaniyat; Falah-i-Insaniyat; Falah Insania; Welfare of Humanity; Humanitarian Welfare Foundation; Human Welfare Foundation; Al-Anfal Trust; Tehrik-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool; TehrikeTahafuz Qibla Awwal; Al-Muhammadia Students; Al-Muhammadia Students Pakistan; AMS; Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir; Kashmir Freedom Movement; Tehreek Azadi Jammu and Kashmir; Tehreek-e-Azadi Jammu and Kashmir; TAJK; Movement for Freedom of Kashmir; Tehrik-i-Azadi-i Kashmir; Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Jammu and Kashmir; Milli Muslim League; Milli Muslim League Pakistan; MML

Description:  Designated as an FTO on December 26, 2001, Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT) is an anti-India-focused terrorist group.  LeT was formed in the late 1980s as the terrorist wing of Markaz ud Dawa ul-Irshad, a Pakistan-based extremist organization and charity originally formed to oppose the Soviet presence in Afghanistan.  LeT is led by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed.  Shortly after LeT’s FTO designation, Saeed changed the group’s name to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) and launched humanitarian projects to circumvent sanctions.  LeT disseminates its message through JUD’s media outlets.  Since the creation of JUD, LeT has repeatedly changed its name in an effort to avoid sanctions.

Elements of LeT and Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) have combined with other groups like Hizbul Mujahideen to mount anti-India attacks.  The Pakistani government banned LeT in January 2002 and temporarily arrested Hafiz Saeed following the 2008 Mumbai attack.  On January 30, 2017, Pakistan placed Saeed under house arrest; however, he was released in November 2017 after a Lahore High Court judicial body rejected a government request to renew his detention.  In July 2019, Pakistani police again arrested Saeed and charged him with financing terrorism.

Activities:  LeT has conducted operations, including several high profile attacks, against Indian troops and civilian targets since 1993.  The group also has attacked Coalition Forces in Afghanistan.  LeT uses assault rifles, machine guns, mortars, explosives, and rocket-propelled grenades.

LeT was responsible for the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai against luxury hotels, a Jewish center, a train station, and a popular café that killed 166 people – including six U.S. citizens – and injured more than 300.  India has charged 38 people in the case; most are at large, however, and thought to be in Pakistan.

In March 2010, Pakistani-American businessman David Headley pled guilty in a U.S. court to charges related to his role in the November 2008 LeT attacks in Mumbai and to charges related to a separate plot to bomb the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten.  Headley testified in the trials of other LeT supporters in 2011 and 2015.

LeT was behind a July 2015 attack in Gurdaspur, Punjab, which killed seven people.  In August 2015, operatives affiliated with LeT attacked Indian security forces in Udhampur, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.  In December 2015, LeT carried out an attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy after it left Srinagar, Kashmir, injuring one civilian and seven Indian military personnel.

From February to May 2016, LeT was suspected of engaging in at least three firefights with Indian security forces in Kupwara district, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, injuring two Indian personnel.  In June 2016, LeT was suspected of conducting an ambush on an Indian security force convoy in Pulwama district, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, killing eight and injuring 20.  Some media reports alleged the group’s involvement in the September 2016 attack on an Indian army camp in Uri, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which killed 20 soldiers.

In June 2017, LeT conducted an attack in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir that left six police officers dead.  In July, LeT militants attacked a bus of pilgrims returning from the Amarnath Yatra shrine, killing seven people.  In June 2018, LeT claimed responsibility for a suicide attack against an Indian army camp in the state of Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora district that killed three soldiers.  LeT did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2019.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan

Funding and External Aid:  LeT collects donations in Pakistan and the Gulf as well as from other donors in the Middle East and Europe – particularly the UK, where it is a designated terrorist organization.  In 2019, LeT and its front organizations continued to operate and fundraise in Pakistan.


Aka Army of Jhangvi; Lashkar e Jhangvi; Lashkar-i-Jhangvi

Description:  Designated as an FTO on January 30, 2003, Lashkar I Jhangvi (LJ) is the terrorist offshoot of the Sunni Deobandi sectarian group Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan.  LJ carries out anti-Shia and other sectarian attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The Government of Pakistan banned the group in August 2001 as part of an effort to rein in sectarian violence, causing many LJ members to seek refuge in Afghanistan with the Taliban, with whom the group had existing ties.  After the collapse of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, LJ members became active in aiding other terrorists and have provided them with safe houses, false identities, and protection in Pakistani cities.  LJ works closely with Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan.  LJ chief Asif Chotu was killed along with three other LJ militants in a police operation in Pakistan in January 2017.

In May 2018, LJ’s Balochistan chief, Salman Badini, and two other LJ militants were killed during a police raid in Quetta, Pakistan.

Activities:  LJ specializes in armed attacks and bombings and has admitted to numerous killings of Shia religious and community leaders in Pakistan.  In January 1999, the group attempted to assassinate then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab province.  Media reports linked LJ to attacks on Christian targets in Pakistan, including a March 2002 grenade assault on the Protestant International Church in Islamabad that killed two U.S. citizens.

In January 2014, more than 24 people were killed and 40 others wounded in a bus bombing by an LJ attack targeting Shia pilgrims.  LJ claimed responsibility for the December 2015 suicide bombing that targeted a market in the predominantly Shia town of Parachinar, Pakistan, that killed at least 23 people and wounded 50.  In November 2016, two individuals suspected of belonging to LJ were arrested by police in Pakistan for their alleged involvement in 25 cases of targeted killings, including the murder of Pakistani singer Amjad Sabri, as well as army and police personnel.  In April 2019, LJ claimed responsibility for the bombing of a market in Quetta, Pakistan that killed 20 people.  The attack reportedly targeted the local minority Shia Muslim Hazara community.

Strength:  LJ’s membership is assessed to be in the low hundreds.

Location/Area of Operation:  Pakistan and Afghanistan

Funding and External Aid:  LJ’s funding comes from wealthy donors in Pakistan and the Middle East, particularly Gulf States.  The group engages in criminal activity, including extortion, to fund its activities.


Aka Ellalan Force; Tamil Tigers

Description:  Founded in 1976 and designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is a Tamil secessionist group in Sri Lanka.  Despite its military defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan government in 2009, the LTTE’s international network of sympathizers and financial support has persisted.

Activities:  Although largely inactive since 2009, the LTTE was responsible for an integrated insurgent strategy that targeted key installations and senior Sri Lankan leaders.  In early 2009, Sri Lankan forces recaptured the LTTE’s key strongholds, including their capital of Kilinochchi.  In May 2009, government forces defeated the last LTTE fighting forces, killed members of its leadership including leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, and declared military victory.

There have been no known attacks in Sri Lanka attributed to the LTTE since 2009, but 13 LTTE supporters, several of whom had allegedly planned attacks against U.S. and Israeli diplomatic facilities in India, were arrested in Malaysia in 2014.  Additional members were arrested in Malaysia and India in 2015, one of whom was accused of exhorting other Sri Lankans to fund and revive the LTTE.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Sri Lanka, India, and Malaysia

Funding and External Aid:  The LTTE’s financial network of support continued after the group’s military defeat in 2009.  The LTTE has employed charities as fronts to collect and divert funds for its activities.


Aka MSC; Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem; Mujahideen Shura Council; Shura al-Mujahedin Fi Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis; Majlis Shura al-Mujahidin; Majlis Shura alMujahideen; Magles Shoura al-Mujahddin

Description:  The Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC) was designated as an FTO on August 19, 2014.  The MSC is a consolidation of several Salafi terrorist groups based in Gaza that have claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against Israel since the group’s founding in 2012.

Activities:  In August 2013, MSC claimed responsibility for a rocket attack targeting the Israeli city of Eilat.  Previously, MSC claimed responsibility for the March 2013, attack in which Gaza-based militants fired at least five rockets at Sderot, Israel, and the April 2013 attack in which two rockets were fired at Eilat.  MSC did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2019.

Strength:  MSC is estimated to have several hundred fighters.

Location/Area of Operation:  Gaza

Funding and External Aid:  Sources of funding are unknown.


Aka al-Mulathamun Battalion; al-Mulathamun Brigade; al-Muwaqqi’un bil-Dima; Those Signed in Blood Battalion; Signatories in Blood; Those who Sign in Blood; Witnesses in Blood; Signed-in-Blood Battalion; Masked Men Brigade; Khaled Abu al-Abbas Brigade; al-Mulathamun Masked Ones Brigade; The Sentinels

Description:  Al-Murabitoun was designated as an FTO on December 19, 2013, originally under the name al-Mulathamun Battalion.  Al-Murabitoun was originally part of al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), but became a separate organization in late 2012 after its leader, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, split from AQIM.  After the split, Belmokhtar threatened to fight against Western interests and announced the creation of the al-Mulathamun Battalion.  In 2013, the al-Mulathamun Battalion and the Mali-based Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) announced that the two organizations would merge under the name “al-Murabitoun.”  In 2015, al-Murabitoun announced a re-merger with AQIM.  In 2017, the Sahara Branch of al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Murabitoun, Ansar al-Dine, and the Macina Liberation Front came together to form Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM).

Activities:  In January 2013, what is now known as al-Murabitoun claimed responsibility for the attack against the Tiguentourine gas facility near In Amenas, in southeastern Algeria.  More than 800 people were taken hostage during the four-day siege, resulting in the deaths of 39 civilians, including three U.S. citizens.  Seven other U.S. citizens escaped.

In May 2013, al-Murabitoun participated in twin suicide bombings on a northern Nigerien military base and a French uranium mine in Arlit.  The coordinated attacks killed more than 20 people, including all of the attackers.

In March 2015, al-Murabitoun claimed responsibility for an attack at La Terrasse restaurant in Bamako, Mali that killed a French national, a Belgian national, and three Malians.  Al-Murabitoun also claimed responsibility for the August 2015 hotel siege in central Mali that killed 17 people.  In November 2015, al-Murabitoun operatives participated in the strike against the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, taking more than 170 people hostage – including U.S. citizens.  Nearly 27 people were killed in the attack, among them a U.S. international development worker.

Al-Murabitoun was reportedly involved in the AQIM January 2016 attack on a popular tourist hotel in Burkina Faso that killed nearly 30, including a U.S. citizen.  In addition, al-Murabitoun claimed responsibility for a January 2017 suicide car bombing at a military camp in Mali that killed more than 47 people and injured more than 115.  In July 2018, al-Murabitoun was involved in fighting against French forces in Mali.  Al-Murabitoun remained active in 2019.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:   Algeria, Burkina Faso, Libya, Mali, and Niger

Funding and External Aid:  In addition to the support it may receive through its connections to other terrorist organizations in the region, al-Murabitoun is likely funded through kidnapping-for-ransom and other criminal activities.


Aka ELN; Ejército de Liberación Nacional.

Description:  The National Liberation Army (ELN) was designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997.  The ELN is a Colombian Marxist-Leninist group formed in 1964.  The ELN remains focused on attacking the security services and economic infrastructure – in particular oil and gas pipelines and electricity pylons – and on extorting foreign and local companies and commits crimes and acts of terror throughout the country, including violence against civilian populations in Colombia and Venezuela

Activities:  The ELN continued to target Colombia’s infrastructure, particularly oil pipelines.  The ELN also launched mortars at police stations and the military; placed explosive devices near roads; and engaged in sniper attacks, roadblocks, and ambushes.  Additionally, the ELN continued to kidnap civilians and members of the security services.

Throughout 2017, the Government of Colombia and the ELN conducted peace talks but did not ultimately reach an agreement.  Peace talks were intermittent throughout 2018 after being suspended in January following a series of ELN bombings that killed several police officers and injured dozens more.  The government ended talks following a January 2019 vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack by the ELN on the General Santander National Police Academy.  The attack was the deadliest Bogotá had experienced in years, killing 22 police cadets and injuring 87 more.  Colombian officials also attributed a number of oil pipeline bombings to the ELN in 2019.

Strength:  ELN consists of about 3,000 armed combatants.

Location/Area of Operation:  Colombia and Venezuela

Funding and External Aid:  The ELN draws its funding from the illicit narcotics trade, extortion of oil and gas companies and landowners, and illegal mining in Colombia and Venezuela.  Additional funds are derived from kidnapping-for–ransom payments.


Aka Jabhat al-Nusrah; Jabhet al-Nusrah; The Victory Front; al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant; al-Nusrah Front in Lebanon; Jabhat al-Nusra li-Ahl al-Sham min Mujahedi al-Sham fi Sahat al-Jihad; Support Front for the People of the Levant; Jabhat Fath al-Sham; Jabhat Fath al Sham; Jabhat Fatah al-Sham; Jabhat Fateh al-Sham; Front for the Conquest of Syria; the Front for liberation of al Sham; Front for the Conquest of Syria/the Levant; Front for the Liberation of the Levant; Conquest of the Levant Front; Fatah al-Sham Front; Fateh al-Sham Front; Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham; Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham; Hayat Tahrir al-Sham; HTS; Assembly for the Liberation of Syria; Assembly for Liberation of the Levant; Liberation of al-Sham Commission; Liberation of the Levant Organization; Tahrir al-Sham; Tahrir al-Sham Hay’at

Description:  Al-Nusrah Front (ANF) was designated as an FTO on May 15, 2014, and is al-Qa’ida’s affiliate in Syria.  It is led by Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani.  The group was formed in late 2011 when then-al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) – now ISIS – leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi sent al-Jawlani to Syria to organize terrorist cells.  In 2013, the group split from AQI and became an independent entity.  ANF’s stated goal is to oust Syria’s Assad regime and replace it with a Sunni Islamic state.  The group is concentrated in and controls a portion of territory in northwest Syria, where it is active as an opposition force, and exerts varying degrees of influence over local governance and external plotting.

In early 2017, ANF joined with four smaller Syrian factions and created Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) as a vehicle to advance its position in the Syrian insurgency and further its own goals as al-Qa’ida’s affiliate in Syria.

Activities:  ANF has been active in operations against other factions in the Syrian conflict.  In 2016, the group carried out attacks in Aleppo and other parts of Syria controlled by the Syrian army, killing both military officials and civilians.

Since 2017, ANF has continued to operate through HTS in pursuit of its objectives.  In October 2017, ANF launched an attack near the Turkish border against the Syrian army, killing several soldiers.  In March, the group carried out multiple suicide bombings in Damascus, including suicide attacks using VBIEDs.  ANF took control of significant portions of Idlib from 2017 to 2019, exerting severe military pressure over other local groups such as Ahrar ash-Sham and Nur ad-Din al-Zinki as it fought against the regime and continued plotting against U.S. and allied interests.

In 2019, the group suffered heavy casualties, estimated in the hundreds, from engagement with Russian-backed Syrian government forces.

Strength:  ANF has between 5,000 and 10,000 fighters.

Location/Area of Operation:  Syria

Funding and External Aid:  ANF receives funding from a variety of sources, including kidnapping-for-ransom payments, taxes and fees on border crossings it controls, and donations from external Gulf-based donors.  The group also generates revenue by collecting fees from commercial traffic entering and exiting Idlib.


Aka PIJ; PIJ-Shaqaqi Faction; PIJ-Shallah Faction; Islamic Jihad of Palestine; Islamic Jihad in Palestine; Abu Ghunaym Squad of the Hizballah Bayt al-Maqdis; Al-Quds Squads; Al-Quds Brigades; Saraya al-Quds; Al-Awdah Brigades

Description:  Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997.  Formed by militant Palestinians in Gaza during the 1970s, PIJ is committed to the destruction of Israel and to the creation of an Islamic state in historic Palestine, including present-day Israel.

Activities:  PIJ terrorists have conducted numerous attacks, including large-scale suicide bombings, against Israeli civilian and military targets.  Between 2008 and 2011, PIJ conducted rocket attacks and used other explosive devices to target southern Israel.  Throughout 2014, PIJ operatives carried out attacks on Israeli buses in Tel Aviv.  In March 2014, PIJ carried out a wave of rocket attacks into Israeli territory; up to 60 rockets may have reached Israel.

In 2015, PIJ revealed that its militants were smuggling weapons, including Gaza-made rockets and mortars, through tunnels in Gaza, in preparation for future attacks against Israel.  In May 2015, Israeli forces blamed PIJ for firing a rocket that landed in Gan Yazne, a region close to the Gaza border.  In August 2015, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed PIJ operatives in Syria fired four rockets at the Golan Heights and Upper Galilee.

Throughout 2016, PIJ continued to strike Israel, primarily through light arms fire directed at IDF patrols.  In September 2016, Israeli authorities arrested PIJ operative Mahmoud Yusuf Hasin Abu Taha upon his entry into Israel from Gaza, interrupting a PIJ plot to abduct and kill an IDF soldier and carry out a mass-casualty attack on a reception hall in Beersheba.  In 2017, PIJ praised numerous shootings, bombings, and other attacks in Israel that resulted in multiple deaths.  PIJ claimed responsibility for launching rockets into Israel throughout 2018 and 2019.  In a November 2019 video, PIJ’s Al-Quds Brigade introduced a new rocket to its arsenal and thanked Iran for its support.

Strength:  PIJ has close to 1,000 members.

Location/Area of Operation:   Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank

Funding and External Aid:  PIJ receives financial assistance and training primarily from Iran.  PIJ has partnered with Iran- and Syria-sponsored Hizballah to carry out joint operations.


Aka PLF; PLF-Abu Abbas; Palestine Liberation Front

Description:  The Palestinian Liberation Front-Abu Abbas Faction (PLF) was designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997.  In the late 1970s, the PLF splintered from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.  It later split into pro-Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), pro-Syrian, and pro-Libyan factions.  The pro-PLO faction was led by Muhammad Zaydan (aka Abu Abbas) and was based in Baghdad before Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Activities:  The PLF was responsible for the 1985 attack on the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro and the murder of U.S. citizen Leon Klinghoffer.  Throughout the 1990s, the PLF was suspected of supporting terrorism against Israel by other Palestinian groups. In April 2004, Abu Abbas died of natural causes while in U.S. custody in Iraq.  After not claiming an attack for 16 years, the PLF claimed responsibility for the March 2008 assault against an Israeli military bus in Huwarah, Israel, and the shooting of an Israeli settler.  In February 2010, the PLF claimed responsibility for an IED attack against an IDF patrol, which caused minor injuries to a soldier; another IED was discovered during a search of the area.  The PLF has not claimed responsibility for any attacks since 2016, but continues to maintain a strong presence in many refugee camps in Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Gaza, Lebanon, and the West Bank

Funding and External Aid:  Sources of funding are unknown.


Aka PFLP; Halhul Gang; Halhul Squad; Palestinian Popular Resistance Forces; PPRF; Red Eagle Gang; Red Eagle Group; Red Eagles; Martyr Abu-Ali Mustafa Battalion

Description:  Designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is a Marxist-Leninist group founded in 1967 by George Habash after splitting from the Arab Nationalist Movement.  The group earned a reputation for committing large-scale international attacks in the 1960s and 1970s, including airline hijackings that killed more than 20 U.S. citizens.

Activities:  The PFLP increased its operational activity during the Second Intifada.  During that time, the group assassinated Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001, carried out at least two suicide operations, and launched multiple joint operations with other Palestinian terrorist groups.  Between 2008 and 2011, the PLFP claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on IDF in Gaza as well as mortar and rocket attacks fired from Gaza into Israel.  In 2012, the Israeli Security Agency arrested several members of the PFLP for plotting to carry out attacks on IDF checkpoints and planning to conduct kidnappings.

In November 2014, two Palestinians reportedly affiliated with the PFLP entered a Jerusalem synagogue and attacked Israelis with guns, knives, and axes, killing five people – including three U.S. citizens – and injuring 12.  In December, the PFLP claimed responsibility for several rocket attacks along the Lebanese-Israel border.

In June 2017, three Palestinian militants launched an attack near Jerusalem’s Old City, stabbing and killing an Israeli border security agent.  Two of the militants were PFLP members, although ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

In September 2019, IDF and Israeli Border Patrol forces arrested four PFLP members allegedly responsible for remotely detonating an IED in the West Bank, killing an Israeli teenager and seriously wounding two others.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Gaza, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank

Funding and External Aid:  Sources of support are unknown.



Description:  The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) was designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997.  The PFLP-GC split from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 1968, claiming it wanted to concentrate more on resistance and less on politics.  Ahmad Jibril, a former captain in the Syrian army, has led the PFLP-GC since its founding.  The PFLP-GC has close ties to both Syria and Iran.

Activities:  The PFLP-GC carried out dozens of attacks in Europe and the Middle East during the 1970s and 1980s.  The organization was known for conducting cross-border attacks into Israel using unusual means, such as hot-air balloons and motorized hang gliders.  Since the early 1990s, the group has primarily focused on supporting Hizballah’s attacks against Israel, training members of other Palestinian terrorist groups, and smuggling weapons.  More recently, the PFLP-GC has been implicated by Lebanese security officials in several rocket attacks against Israel.  In 2009, the group was responsible for wounding two civilians in an armed attack in Nahariyya, Israel.

In November 2012, the PFLP-GC claimed responsibility for a bus bombing in Tel Aviv that injured 29 people, although four Palestine Islamic Jihad and Hamas operatives later were arrested for the attack.  In 2015, the PFLP-GC reportedly began fighting alongside the Assad regime in Syria, while also receiving logistical and military aid from Hizballah and Iran.

Separately, in December 2015, the PFLP-GC took responsibility for rocket fire aimed at Israeli territory.  The attack, in which at least three rockets were fired from Lebanon into northern Israel, landed near Shlomi, a small town near the Lebanese frontier with Israel.  Although the PFLP-GC did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2019, the group remained an active participant in the Syrian conflict.

Strength:  The PFLP-GC has several hundred members.

Location/Area of Operation:  Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza

Funding and External Aid:  The PFLP-GC receives safe haven and logistical and military support from Syria as well as financial support from Iran.


Aka al-Qa’eda; al Qaida, al Qaeda, Islamic Army; Islamic Salvation Foundation; The Base; The Group for the Preservation of the Holy Sites; The Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places; the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders; Usama Bin Laden Network; Usama Bin Laden Organization; al-Jihad; the Jihad Group; Egyptian al-Jihad; Egyptian Islamic Jihad; New Jihad; International Front for Fighting Jews and Crusades; Islamic Army for the Liberation of Holy Sites

Description:  Al-Qa’ida (AQ) was designated as an FTO on October 8, 1999.  Established in 1988, the group helped finance, recruit, transport, and train fighters for the Afghan resistance against the former Soviet Union.  AQ strives to eliminate Western influence from the Muslim world, topple “apostate” governments of Muslim countries, and establish a pan-Islamic caliphate governed by its own interpretation of Sharia law that would ultimately be at the center of a new international order.  These goals remain essentially unchanged since the group’s 1996 public declaration of war against the United States.  AQ leaders issued a statement in 1998 under the banner of “The World Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders,” saying it was the duty of all Muslims to kill U.S. citizens – civilian and military – and their allies everywhere.  AQ merged with al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad) in June 2001.  While numerous AQ leaders have been killed in recent years, including Usama bin Laden in 2011, AQ’s current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, remains at large.

Activities:  AQ conducted three bombings targeting U.S. troops in Aden, Yemen, in 1992 and claimed responsibility for shooting down U.S. helicopters and killing U.S. soldiers in Somalia in 1993.  AQ also carried out the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing up to 300 people and injuring more than 5,000.  In 2000, AQ conducted a suicide attack on the USS Cole in the port of Aden with an explosive-laden boat, killing 17 U.S. Navy sailors and injuring 39 others.

On September 11, 2001, 19 AQ members hijacked and crashed four U.S. commercial jets – two into the World Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon, and the last into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  Nearly 3,000 civilians, police, and first responders were killed.  The dead included U.S. and foreign citizens from at least 77 countries.

In a 2011 video, al-Zawahiri claimed AQ was behind the kidnapping of U.S. aid worker Warren Weinstein in Pakistan.  Weinstein was held captive until his death in 2015.

In 2015, five senior AQ leaders were released from Iranian custody in exchange for an Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Yemen.  Of the five, Saif al Adel and Abu Mohammed al Masri are wanted for the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

In 2016, al-Zawahiri publicly released two audio messages and one seven-page statement, condemning the Government of Saudi Arabia and its role in the Syrian conflict, encouraging AQ activity in Southeast Asia – especially Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines – and acknowledging support for its affiliate in Syria, al-Nusrah Front.

In September 2017, a U.S. citizen was convicted in New York of charges related to supporting AQ to attack a U.S. military base in Afghanistan using two truck bombs in 2009.  In October 2017, al-Zawahiri released a video calling for jihadists around the world to conduct attacks against the United States.  Al-Zawahiri released multiple recordings and videos in 2018 in which he continued to call for jihad against the United States after the U.S. Embassy in Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In July 2019, a man from Cleveland, Ohio, was arrested for allegedly making plans for an AQ-inspired bomb attack on the city’s downtown July 4th parade.  In July 2019, Zawahiri called for extremists in Kashmir to attack Indian forces.  On September 11, 2019, al-Zawahiri appealed to Muslims to attack U.S., European, Israeli, and Russian military targets in a video recording.

Strength:  In South Asia, AQ’s core has been seriously degraded.  The death or arrest of dozens of mid- and senior-level AQ operatives, including Usama bin Laden, has disrupted communication, financial support, facilitation nodes, and several terrorist plots.  AQ, however, remains a focal point of “inspiration” for a worldwide network of affiliated groups.  Among them, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Nusrah Front, al-Shabaab, al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), and other terrorist groups, including the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Islamic Jihad Union, Lashkar i Jhangvi, Harakat ul-Mujahideen, and Jemaah Islamiya.  The Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and the Haqqani Network also have ties to AQ.  In addition, supporters and associates worldwide who are “inspired” by the group’s ideology may operate without direction from AQ central leadership.

Location/Area of Operation:  Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, North Africa, and Somalia

Funding and External Aid:  AQ primarily depends on donations from likeminded supporters, and from individuals who believe that their money is supporting a humanitarian cause.  Some funds are diverted from Islamic charitable organizations.


Aka al-Qa’ida in the South Arabian Peninsula; al-Qa’ida in Yemen; al-Qa’ida of Jihad Organization in the Arabian Peninsula; al-Qa’ida Organization in the Arabian Peninsula; Tanzim Qa’idat al-Jihad fi Jazirat al-Arab; AQAP; AQY; Ansar al-Shari’a; Ansar al-Sharia; Ansar al-Shariah, Ansar al Shariah, Partisans of Islamic Law, Sons of Abyan; Sons of Hadramawt; Sons of Hadramawt Committee; Civil Council of Hadramawt; and National Hadramawt Council

Description:  Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was designated as an FTO on January 19, 2010.  In January 2009, the now-deceased leader of al-Qa’ida in Yemen, Nasir al-Wahishi, publicly announced that Yemeni and Saudi al-Qa’ida (AQ) operatives were working together under the banner of AQAP.  The announcement signaled the rebirth of an AQ franchise that previously carried out attacks in Saudi Arabia.  AQAP’s stated goals include establishing a caliphate and implementing Sharia law in the Arabian Peninsula and the wider Middle East.

Activities:  AQAP has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts against both local and foreign targets since its inception in January 2009.  These include a March 2009 suicide bombing against South Korean tourists in Yemen and the December 25, 2009, attempted attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan.  In October 2010, AQAP claimed responsibility for a foiled plot to send explosive-laden packages to the United States via cargo planes.  The parcels were intercepted in the UK and the United Arab Emirates.

AQAP, operating under the alias Ansar al-Shari’a, carried out a May 2012 suicide bombing in Sana’a that killed 96 people.  The same month, the media reported that AQAP allegedly planned to detonate a bomb aboard a U.S.-bound airliner using an IED.

In January 2015, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi attacked the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France, killing 12 people.  One of the brothers, who had traveled to Yemen in 2011 and met with now-deceased Anwar al-Aulaqi, claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of AQAP.

Also in 2015, AQAP took advantage of Yemen’s deteriorating political and economic environment following the Houthi take over – and exile of the Government of Yemen – of the capitol, Sana’a.  In April 2015, AQAP stormed the city of Mukalla, seizing control of government buildings, releasing terrorists from prison, and stealing millions from the central bank.  Between 2015 and 2016, AQAP consolidated its control over Mukalla and expanded its reach throughout large portions of Yemen’s south.

In early 2016, AQAP swept through southern Yemen, gaining control of al-Hawta, Azzan, and Habban in Lahij Governorate as well as Mahfad and Ahwar in Abyan Governorate.  By February 2016, AQAP controlled most of Yemen’s southeastern coast.  The group lost control of Mukalla in April 2016, when forces backed by the Saudi-led Coalition retook the port city; however, these territorial losses did not significantly degrade AQAP’s capabilities, although they did deprive the group of an important source of income.

In early 2017, a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in a raid against AQAP leaders in Yemen.  In June 2017, AQAP attacked a Yemeni army camp, killing at least two soldiers.  In 2018, AQAP senior leader, Khaled Batarfi, called on the group’s supporters to “rise and attack” Americans “everywhere.”  In August 2019, AQAP gunmen killed 19 soldiers in an attack on an army base in southern Yemen.

Strength:  AQAP fighters are estimated to be in the low thousands.

Location/Area of Operation:  Yemen

Funding and External Aid:  AQAP’s funding has historically come from theft, robberies, oil and gas revenue, kidnap-for-ransom operations, and donations from likeminded supporters.


Aka al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent; Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent

Description:  Al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) was designated as an FTO on July 1, 2016.  Established in 2014, AQIS focuses on terrorist activity in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.  Its leader is Asim Umar, a former member of the FTO Harakat ul-Mujahideen.  In September 2019, the Afghan government reported that Umar was killed in a military raid on a Taliban compound in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Activities:  In September 2014, AQIS claimed responsibility for an attack on a naval dockyard in Karachi, Pakistan, in which militants attempted to hijack a Pakistani Navy frigate to attack nearby U.S. warships.  AQIS also claimed attacks against human rights activists and secular writers in Bangladesh, including U.S. citizen Avijit Roy, U.S. Embassy local employee Xulhaz Mannan, and Bangladeshi nationals Oyasiqur Rahman Babu, Ahmed Rajib Haideer, and A.K.M. Shafiul Islam.  In September 2017, AQAP called on AQIS to launch more attacks on Burmese authorities because of Burma’s policies towards Rohingya Muslims.  AQIS has not claimed responsibility for any attacks since 2017.  In 2019, Asim Umar, the head of AQIS, was killed in a joint U.S.-Afghan military operation.

Strength:  AQIS is estimated to have several hundred members.

Location/Area of Operations:  Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan

Funding and External Aid:  AQIS likely receives funding from al-Qa’ida senior leadership and engages in general criminal activity, kidnapping, and extortion.


Aka AQIM; GSPC; Le Groupe Salafiste Pour la Predication et le Combat; Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat; Salafist Group for Call and Combat; Tanzim al-Qa’ida fi Bilad al-Maghrib al-Islamiya

Description:  The Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) was designated as an FTO on March 27, 2002.  The Department of State amended the GSPC designation on February 20, 2008, after the GSPC officially joined with al-Qa’ida (AQ) in September 2006 and became al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).  Although AQIM remains largely a regionally focused terrorist group, it has adopted a more anti-Western rhetoric and ideology.  The group aspires to overthrow “apostate” African regimes and create an Islamic state.  AQIM is led by Abdelmalek Droukdel, also known as Abu Mus’ab Abd al-Wadoud.

Activities:  Following AQIM’s 2007 bombing of the UN headquarters building and an Algerian government building in Algiers, which killed 60 people, AQIM’s northern leadership was contained to northeastern Algeria, while the group’s southern battalions focused mostly on kidnapping-for-ransom efforts.  In 2011 and 2012, however, AQIM took advantage of the deteriorating security situation across Libya, Mali, and Tunisia to expand its operations.  Terrorists with ties to AQIM were involved in the September 11, 2012, attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other embassy staff members.  In April 2014, AQIM killed 14 Algerian soldiers in an ambush east of Algiers.

In January 2015, AQIM claimed responsibility for an attack on a UN vehicle in Kidal, Mali, which wounded seven peacekeepers.  That same year, AQIM twice attacked UN convoys near Timbuktu, Mali, with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades; three peacekeepers were killed in a May 2015 attack and another six were killed in a July attack.  In November 2015, AQIM, in cooperation with other terrorist groups, attacked the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, taking more than 170 hostages, including U.S. citizens.  As many as 27 people were killed in the attack, among them a U.S. international development worker.

In January 2016, AQIM carried out an attack on a hotel in Burkina Faso that killed 28 people and injured 56.  In March 2016, AQIM claimed responsibility for a strike on a popular tourist beach resort in Cote d’Ivoire that killed more than 16 people and wounded another 33.

AQIM has continued to conduct kidnapping-for-ransom operations, typically targeting Western citizens from governments or third parties that have an established pattern of paying ransom for the release of individuals.  In November 2014, AQIM released a video of two Western hostages (a Dutch national and a French national), who were later released in December 2014.

In January 2017, AQIM conducted a suicide attack that left more than 50 people dead in Gao, Mali.  In July 2018, AQIM claimed responsibility for a vehicle suicide attack on an army patrol in Gao that killed four civilians and wounded 31 others, including four French soldiers.

In January 2019, AQIM claimed responsibility for an attack on a UN camp in northern Mali, killing 10 peacekeepers and wounding 25 others.

Strength:  AQIM has an estimated 1,000 fighters operating in the Sahel, including Algeria, northern Mali, southwest Libya, and Niger.

Location/Area of Operation:  Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Libya, Mali, Niger, and Tunisia

Funding and External Aid:  AQIM members engage in kidnapping-for-ransom and other criminal activities to finance their operations.  AQIM also successfully fundraises globally and receives limited financial and logistical assistance from supporters residing in Western Europe.


Aka RIRA; Real Irish Republican Army; 32 County Sovereignty Committee; 32 County Sovereignty Movement; Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association; Real Oglaigh Na Heireann

Description:  The Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA) was designated as an FTO on May 16, 2001.  The group was formed in 1997 as the clandestine armed wing of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, a “political pressure group” dedicated to removing British forces from Northern Ireland and unifying Ireland.  The RIRA has historically sought to disrupt the Northern Ireland peace process and did not participate in the September 2005 weapons decommissioning.  Despite internal rifts and calls by some jailed members (including the group’s founder Michael “Mickey” McKevitt) for a cease-fire and disbandment, the RIRA has pledged additional violence and continued to conduct attacks.  Many RIRA members are former Provisional Irish Republican Army members who left the organization after the group renewed its cease-fire in 1997.  These members brought extensive experience in terrorist tactics and bomb-making to the group.

Activities:  Targets have included civilians (the most notorious example is the Omagh bombing in August 1998), British security forces, and police officers in Northern Ireland.  The Independent Monitoring Commission, which oversees the peace process, assessed that RIRA likely was responsible for the majority of the attacks that occurred after the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was decommissioned in Northern Ireland.

In May 2015, Irish police carried out 20 searches aimed at known dissident republicans across Ireland.  Six individuals with links to the RIRA and the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) were arrested after police discovered explosive devices.  In 2016, the RIRA bombed the van of an Irish prison officer in east Belfast; the officer died from complications following the attack.  Dublin police also linked the RIRA to a cache of explosives found in Dublin in April 2016.  In January 2017, RIRA gunmen fired at police officers in north Belfast, injuring one officer.  RIRA did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2018 and 2019.

Strength:  The Irish government reports that the RIRA has roughly 100 active members.  The organization may receive limited support from IRA hardliners and sympathizers who are dissatisfied with the IRA’s cease-fire and with Sinn Fein’s involvement in the peace process.

Location/Area of Operation:  Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

Funding and External Aid:  RIRA is suspected of receiving funds from sympathizers in the United States and of attempting to buy weapons from U.S. gun dealers.  The group reportedly purchased sophisticated weapons from the Balkans and occasionally collaborated with the CIRA.


Aka FARC; Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia

Description:  Founded in 1964 and designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was Latin America’s oldest, largest, and best-equipped terrorist organization.  The FARC was responsible for large numbers of kidnappings-for-ransom in Colombia and held as many as 700 hostages.  In November 2016, after four years of negotiation in Havana, Cuba, the Colombian government and FARC reached a peace agreement, later approved by Colombia’s Congress, setting into motion a disarmament, demobilization, and reincorporation process.  In accordance with the peace agreement, the vast majority of FARC combatants disarmed and demobilized between December 2016 and August 2017 under UN supervision, with roughly 7,000 FARC members turning in more than 8,000 weapons.  In 2019, roughly 13,000 FARC ex-combatants and former militia members continued to participate in social and economic reincorporation activities under the 2016 accord.  Up to 1,500 FARC guerrillas chose not to participate in the peace process and around 250 have since abandoned the process.  FARC dissidents have recruited an estimated 1,000 new members, largely minors, since the signing of the peace accord.  Altogether, these individuals are often referred to by the United States as FARC dissidents and as the residual organized armed group by the Colombian government.

Activities:  Over the years, the FARC has perpetrated many high-profile terrorist acts, including the 1999 murder of three U.S. missionaries working in Colombia as well as multiple kidnappings and assassinations of Colombian government officials and civilians.  In July 2008, the Colombian military conducted a dramatic rescue of 15 high-value FARC hostages, including U.S. Department of Defense contractors Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Thomas Howe, who were held captive for more than five years, along with former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.

There have been reports of continued extortion and violent criminal activities by FARC dissidents not participating in the peace process.  In August, former FARC commanders Iván Márquez and Jesus Santrich appeared in a video calling for a return to arms against the Colombian government.

Strength:  Before the peace accord, the FARC was estimated to have 7,000 armed members, with several thousand additional supporters.

Location/Area of Operation:  Colombia and Venezuela

Funding and External Aid:  Before the peace accord, the FARC was primarily funded by extortion and international drug trade.  FARC dissidents continue such activities.


Aka DHKP/C; Dev Sol; Dev Sol Armed Revolutionary Units; Dev Sol Silahli Devrimci Birlikleri; Dev Sol SDB; Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi-Cephesi; Devrimci Sol; Revolutionary Left

Description:  Designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) was formed in 1978 as Devrimci Sol, or Dev Sol, a splinter faction of Dev Genc (Revolutionary Youth).  It was renamed in 1994 after factional infighting.  “Party” refers to the group’s political activities and “Front” alludes to the group’s militant operations.  The group advocates a Marxist-Leninist ideology and opposes the United States, NATO, and the Turkish establishment.  It strives to establish a socialist state and to abolish Turkish prisons.

Activities:  Since the late 1980s, the group has primarily targeted current and retired Turkish security and military officials.  In 1990, the group began conducting attacks against foreign interests, including U.S. military and diplomatic personnel and facilities.  The DHKP/C assassinated two U.S. military contractors, wounded a U.S. Air Force officer, and bombed more than 20 U.S. and NATO military, diplomatic, commercial, and cultural facilities.  In 2001, the DHKP/C began conducting its first suicide bombing attacks against Turkish police.  Since the end of 2001, DHKP/C has typically used IEDs against official Turkish and U.S. targets.

The DHKP/C was responsible for many high-profile attacks in 2012, including the suicide bombing of a police station in Istanbul.  In February 2013, a DHKP/C operative exploded a suicide vest inside the employee entrance to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara.  The explosion killed a Turkish guard and seriously wounded a Turkish journalist.  In March 2013, three members of the group attacked the Ministry of Justice and the Ankara headquarters of the Turkish Justice and Development political party using grenades and rocket launchers.

In 2015, the DHKP/C claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed one police officer and wounded another.  In March 2015, Turkish prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz was taken hostage and died from multiple gunshot wounds inflicted by the DHKP/C after police attempted to rescue him.  In August 2015, two women opened fire on the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul; one woman was identified as a member of the DHKP/C.

On January 20, 2017, a DHKP/C militant launched an anti-tank missile into Istanbul police headquarters.  The attack did not result in any deaths or injuries.

In November 2018, a court in Istanbul issued an arrest warrant for members of the DHKP/C who were believed to be in Europe and connected with the 2015 death of  Turkish prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz.

In May 2019, two individuals linked to the DHKP/C were arrested by Turkish security forces, after entering the Turkish Parliament and taking a staff member hostage.

Strength:  The DHKP/C is estimated to have several dozen members inside Turkey, with a support network throughout Europe.

Location/Area of Operation:  Turkey and Europe

Funding and External Aid:  The DHKP/C finances its activities chiefly through donations and extortion.  The group raises funds primarily in Europe.


Aka Epanastatikos Aghonas

Description:  Designated as an FTO on May 18, 2009, Revolutionary Struggle (RS) is a radical Marxist extremist group that has conducted attacks against both Greek and U.S. targets in Greece.  RS emerged in 2003 following the arrests of members of two other Greek Marxist groups, 17 November and Revolutionary People’s Struggle.

Activities:  RS first gained notoriety when it claimed responsibility for the September 5, 2003, bombings at the Athens Courthouse during the trials of 17 November members.  From 2004 to 2006, RS carried out IED attacks that included a March 2004 attack outside a Citibank office in Athens.  RS claimed responsibility for the January 2007 rocket-propelled grenade attack on the U.S. Embassy in Athens, which damaged the building, and the March 2009 bombing of a Citibank branch in Athens.

The Greek government has made significant strides in curtailing the group’s terrorist activity.  On April 10, 2010, Greek police arrested six suspected RS members, including purported leader Nikos Maziotis, who later escaped.  On April 3, 2013, five RS members were convicted by an Athens appeals court, three of them receiving maximum prison sentences.  Maziotis and another accused RS conspirator, Paula Roupa, were convicted in absentia.  Before Maziotis’s recapture, RS conducted a bomb attack outside a Bank of Greece office in Athens in April 2014; the blast caused extensive damage to surrounding structures but no casualties.

In March 2016, a Greek court sentenced Maziotis to life in prison plus 129 years.  In January 2017, Roupa was arrested by Greek police in Athens, later sentenced to life and 25 years’ imprisonment.  RS did not claim responsibility for any attacks in 2019.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Greece

Funding and External Aid:  RS’s sources of funding are unknown, but the group most likely supports itself by means of criminal activities, including bank robbery.


Aka Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin; al-Shabab; Shabaab; Youth Wing; Mujahidin al-Shabaab Movement; Mujahideen Youth Movement; Mujahidin Youth Movement; al-Hijra, al Hijra, Muslim Youth Center, MYC, Pumwani Muslim Youth, Pumwani Islamist Muslim Youth Center; Hizbul Shabaab; Hisb’ul Shabaab; al-Shabaab al-Islamiya; al-Shabaab al-Islaam; al-Shabaab al-Jihad; The Unity of Islamic Youth; Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujaahidiin; Harakatul-Shabaab al Mujaahidiin; Mujaahidiin Youth Movement

Description:  Al-Shabaab was designated as an FTO on March 18, 2008.  Al-Shabaab was the militant wing of the former Somali Islamic Courts Council that took over parts of southern Somalia during the second half of 2006.  Since the end of 2006, al-Shabaab and associated militias have engaged in violent insurgency using guerrilla warfare and terrorist tactics against the transitional governments of Somalia.

Al-Shabaab is an official al-Qa’ida (AQ) affiliate and has ties to other AQ affiliates, including al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb.  The group’s leader is Ahmed Diriye aka Ahmed Umar aka Abu Ubaidah.

Al-Shabaab is composed of Somali recruits and foreign terrorist fighters.  Since 2011, al-Shabaab has seen its military capacity reduced owing to the efforts of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali forces, and clashes within the group itself.  Despite al-Shabaab’s loss of urban centers since 2012, the group has maintained its hold on large sections of rural areas throughout Somalia and has conducted attacks in Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and Djibouti.

Activities:  Al-Shabaab has used intimidation and violence to exploit divisions in Somalia and undermine the Somali government, recruit new fighters, extort funding from local populations, and kill activists working to bring about peace through political dialogue.  The group has claimed responsibility for several high-profile bombings and shootings throughout Somalia targeting AMISOM troops and Somali officials.  Al-Shabaab has assassinated numerous civil society figures, government officials, journalists, international aid workers, and members of non-governmental organizations.

Al-Shabaab was responsible for the July 11, 2010, suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda – its first attack outside of Somalia.  The attack, which took place during the World Cup, killed 76 people, including a U.S. citizen.  In September 2013, al-Shabaab staged a significant attack against the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.  The multi-day siege resulted in the deaths of at least 65 civilians, including foreign nationals from 13 countries as well as six soldiers and police officers; hundreds of others were injured.  In April 2015, al-Shabaab carried out a raid with small arms and grenades on Kenya’s Garissa University College that killed 148 people.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for one of the deadliest attacks against AMISOM troops in Somalia in January 2016.  Using a VBIED and small arms fire, al-Shabaab massed against a Kenyan AMISOM base and killed more than 100 soldiers.  In February, al-Shabaab attempted to down Daallo Airlines Flight 321 with 74 passengers on board, but only the suicide bomber was killed in the explosion.

Al-Shabaab continued a steady pace of attacks in 2017, including in car bomb attacks in Mogadishu in January, March, and June that killed more than 70 people.  In October 2017, it is believed that al-Shabaab conducted a double truck bombing in a Mogadishu intersection with heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic that killed more than 500 people and injured 300 others.

In July 2018, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for an attack on Somalia’s interior ministry compound, killing at least nine people.  In November 2018, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for an attack in which suicide attackers set off two car bombs at a hotel near the headquarters of Somalia’s Criminal Investigations Department in Mogadishu, killing at least 17 people.

In 2019, al-Shabaab was involved in more than 1,000 violent events in Somalia and eastern Kenya.  In January, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a hotel attack in Kenya that killed 21 people and injured 28 others.  In March, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for an attack on the government ministries in Mogadishu, killing 15 people including a deputy minister and injuring 11 others.  In July, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at the office of Mogadishu mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman, killing eight people including Osman and injuring several others.  In October, al-Shabaab conducted an attack on the UN and AMISOM compound in Mogadishu, killing seven people and wounding others.  In December, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for an attack on a passenger bus in northeastern Kenya that killed eight people, including Kenyan police officers, and injured others.  Later that month, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a bomb blast in Mogadishu that killed more than 90 people.

Strength:  Al-Shabaab is estimated to have between 7,000 and 9,000 members.

Location/Area of Operation Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda

Funding and External Aid:  Al-Shabaab receives enough income to launch attacks throughout Somalia, including against AMISOM bases and other civilian targets.  Al-Shabaab obtains funds through illegal charcoal production and exports, taxation of local populations and businesses, and by means of remittances and other money transfers from the Somali diaspora (although these funds are not always intended to support al-Shabaab members).


Aka SL; Sendero Luminoso; Ejército Guerrillero Popular; EGP; Ejército Popular de Liberación; EPL; Partido Comunista del Peru (Communist Party of Peru); PCP; Partido Comunista del Peru en el Sendero Luminoso de Jose Carlos Mariategui (Communist Party of Peru on the Shining Path of Jose Carlos Mariategui); Socorro Popular del Peru; SPP, Communist Party of Peru on the Shining Path of Jose Carlos Mariategui, Communist Party of Peru, People’s Aid of Peru, People’s Guerrilla Army; People’s Liberation Army

Description:  The Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso or SL) was designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997.  The Peru-based terrorist organization was formed in the late 1960s by former university professor Abimael Guzman, whose teachings created the foundation of SL’s militant Maoist doctrine.  In the 1980s, SL was one of the most ruthless terrorist groups in the Western Hemisphere.  In 1992, the Peruvian government captured Guzman who, along with key accomplices, is serving a life sentence in prison.  SL is now led by brothers Victor and Jorge Quispe Palomino and Tarcela Loya Vilchez.  Under their direction, the group aims to overthrow the Peruvian government and names the United States as a principal enemy.

Activities:  SL attacks have declined in recent years.  On April 9, 2016, the group attacked a six-vehicle military caravan transporting election materials ahead of the country’s election; eight soldiers and two civilian contractors were killed by SL members armed with long-range rifles and grenades.  In separate incidents in 2017, SL killed several policemen in an area where the group controls territory and facilitates drug trafficking.

In June 2018, six soldiers were wounded by SL sharpshooters at the Nueva Libertad military base.  In the same month, a group of SL members killed five soldiers and wounded another in an attack on the Nueva Libertad military base in the region of Junín, and attacked a police vehicle using a roadside bomb, killing four policemen.

In June 2019, suspected SL members conducted an attack on the Peruvian Army, killing three soldiers.

Strength:  Estimates of SL’s strength vary, but experts assess SL to number between 250 and 300 combatants.

Location/Area of Operation:  Peru

Funding and External Aid:  SL is primarily funded by the illicit narcotics trade.


Aka Pakistani Taliban; Tehreek-e-Taliban; Tehrik-e-Taliban; Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan; TTP

Description:  Designated as an FTO on September 1, 2010, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is a Pakistan and Afghanistan-based terrorist organization formed in 2007 to oppose Pakistani military efforts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (formerly known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas).  Previously disparate tribal militants agreed to cooperate and eventually coalesced into TTP under the leadership of now-deceased leader Baitullah Mehsud.  Mullah Fazlullah headed the group until his death in June 2018.  TTP then named Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud as the group’s new leader.

TTP aims to push the Government of Pakistan out of Khyber Pakhtunkwa province and establish Sharia law by waging a terrorist campaign against the Pakistani military and state.  TTP uses the tribal belt along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to train and deploy its operatives, and the group has ties to al-Qa’ida (AQ).  TTP draws ideological guidance from AQ, while elements of AQ rely in part on TTP for safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistani border.  This arrangement has given TTP access to both AQ’s global terrorist network and its members’ operational expertise.

Activities:  TTP has carried out and claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts against Pakistani and U.S. interests, including a December 2009 suicide attack on a U.S. military base in Khost, Afghanistan, which killed seven U.S. citizens; and an April 2010 suicide bombing against the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan, which killed six Pakistani citizens.  TTP is suspected of involvement in the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.  TTP directed and facilitated Faisal Shahzad’s failed attempt to detonate an explosive device in New York City’s Times Square on May 1, 2010.

Between 2011 and 2018, TTP continued to carry out attacks against the Government of Pakistan and Pakistani civilian targets, as well as against U.S. targets in Pakistan.  In 2012, TTP carried out attacks against a mosque, a police checkpoint, a Pakistani Air Force base, and a bus carrying Shia Muslims.  In 2013, TTP attacked churches, the home of a government minister in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, and a Shia neighborhood in Karachi, Pakistan.  These attacks killed and wounded hundreds of civilians and Pakistani government and law enforcement officials.  In 2014, TTP carried out two consecutive attacks against Karachi’s international airport and a siege on a primary school in Peshawar, Pakistan that killed 145 people, 132 of whom were children.  In 2015, TTP bombed a Shia mosque near Peshawar and conducted suicide bombings at two churches in Lahore.  In 2016, the group claimed responsibility for a December attack that left the Deputy Superintendent of the police counterterrorism department dead and his son injured in an attack on their vehicle in Peshawar.

TTP attacks in 2017 included several suicide bombings, among them a February attack that targeted a protest in Lahore, a March attack on a mosque in northwestern Pakistan, and a July attack in Lahore that killed 26 people.  In December 2017, TTP militants disguised as women stormed an agricultural training school in Peshawar, leaving nine dead including the attackers.

In February 2018, TTP claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed more than 11 Pakistani security personnel in Swat, Pakistan.  TTP also claimed responsibility for a March 2018 suicide bombing that targeted a checkpoint on the outskirts of Lahore, resulting in the deaths of four police officers and two civilians.

TTP claimed multiple attacks in Pakistan in 2019.  In July, TTP claimed responsibility for killing six soldiers on patrol in North Waziristan.  TTP also claimed responsibility in August for killing four members of a ‘peace committee’ who were working with the Pakistani government in its efforts against the Afghan Taliban.

Strength:  TTP is estimated to have between 3,000 and 5,000 fighters.

Location/Area of Operation:  Pakistan and Afghanistan

Funding and External Aid:  TTP likely raises most of its funds through kidnapping-for–ransom payments, extortion, and other criminal activity.

Country Reports on Terrorism 2019 is submitted in compliance with Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f (the “Act”), which requires the Department of State to provide Congress a full and complete annual report on terrorism for those countries and groups meeting the criteria of the Act.  Statutory excerpts relating to the terms used in this report and a discussion of the interpretation and application of those terms in this report are included below.

Excerpts and Summary of Key Statutory Terms.

Section 2656f(a) of Title 22 of the United States Code states as follows:

(a) … The Secretary of State shall transmit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, by April 30 of each year, a full and complete report providing –

(1) (A) detailed assessments with respect to each foreign country –

(i) in which acts of international terrorism occurred which were, in the opinion of the Secretary, of major significance;

(ii) about which the Congress was notified during the preceding five years pursuant to section 4605(j) of Title 50 [deemed under Section 1768(c)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA FY19) to refer to section 1754(c) of the NDAA FY19 as of August 13, 2018]; and

(iii) which the Secretary determines should be the subject of such report; and

(B) detailed assessments with respect to each foreign country whose territory is being used as a sanctuary for terrorist organizations;

(2) all relevant information about the activities during the preceding year of any terrorist group, and any umbrella group under which such terrorist group falls, known to be responsible for the kidnapping or death of an American citizen during the preceding five years, any terrorist group known to have obtained or developed, or to have attempted to obtain or develop, weapons of mass destruction, any terrorist group known to be financed by countries about which Congress was notified during the preceding year pursuant to section 4605(j) of Title 50, any group designated by the Secretary as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189), and any other known international terrorist group which the Secretary determines should be the subject of such report;

(3) with respect to each foreign country from which the United States Government has sought cooperation during the previous five years in the investigation or prosecution of an act of international terrorism against United States citizens or interests, information on –

(A) the extent to which the government of the foreign country is cooperating with the United States Government in apprehending, convicting, and punishing the individual or individuals responsible for the act; and

(B) the extent to which the government of the foreign country is cooperating in preventing further acts of terrorism against United States citizens in the foreign country; and

(4) with respect to each foreign country from which the United States Government has sought cooperation during the previous five years in the prevention of an act of international terrorism against such citizens or interests, the information described in paragraph (3)(B).

Section 2656f(d) of Title 22 of the United States Code defines certain key terms used in Section 2656f(a) as follows:

(1) The term “international terrorism” means terrorism involving citizens or the territory of more than one country;

(2) The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents; and

(3) The term “terrorist group” means any group practicing, or which has significant subgroups which practice, international terrorism.

Interpretation and Application of Key Terms.  For purposes of this report, the terms “international terrorism,” “terrorism,” and “terrorist group” have the definitions assigned to them in 22 USC 2656f(d) (see above).  The term “non-combatant,” which is referred to but not defined in 22 USC 2656f(d)(2), is interpreted to mean, in addition to civilians, military personnel (whether or not armed or on duty) who are not deployed in a war zone or a war-like setting.

It should be noted that 22 USC 2656f(d) is one of many U.S. statutes and international legal instruments that concern terrorism and acts of violence, many of which use definitions for terrorism and related terms that are different from those used in this report.  The interpretation and application of defined and related terms concerning terrorism in this report are therefore specific to the statutory and other requirements of the report, and not intended to express the views of the U.S. government on how these terms should be interpreted or applied for any other purpose.  Accordingly, there is not necessarily any correlation between the interpretation of terms such as “non-combatant” for purposes of this report and the meanings ascribed to similar terms pursuant to the law of war (which encapsulates the obligations of states and individuals with respect to their activities in situations of armed conflict).

Statistical Information.  Pursuant to 22 USC § 2656f(b), this report should contain “to the extent practicable, complete statistical information on the number of individuals, including United States citizens and dual nationals, killed, injured, or kidnapped by each terrorist group during the preceding calendar year.”  This is satisfied through the inclusion of a statistical annex to the report that sets out statistical information provided by Development Services Group, Inc. (DSG).  The statistical annex includes a discussion of the methodology employed by DSG in compiling the relevant data.  This report does not contain statistical information specifically concerning combatants.  The focus of the terrorism report, as is clear from the definition of terrorism, is on violence against noncombatant targets.

Contextual Reporting.  Adverse mention in this report of individual members of any political, social, ethnic, religious, or national population is not meant to imply that all members of that population are terrorists.  Indeed, terrorists rarely represent anything other than a tiny fraction of such larger populations.  It is terrorist groups – and their actions – that are the focus of this report.

Furthermore, terrorist acts are part of a larger phenomenon of violence inspired by a cause, and at times the line between the two can become difficult to draw.  This report includes some discretionary information in an effort to relate terrorist events to the larger context in which they occur, and to give a feel for the conflicts that spawn violence.

Thus, this report will discuss terrorist acts as well as other violent incidents that are not necessarily “international terrorism” and therefore are not subject to the statutory reporting requirement.

U.S. Department of State

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