ORGANISED CRIME (Definition by Interpol)

“Any group having a corporate structure whose primary objective is to obtain money through illegal activities often surviving on fear and corruption” Organised crime can be divided in three zones:-

  1. Zone of production:- Example- Colombia, Afghanistan
  2. Zone of distribution:- Example- North Mexico, Balkan
  3. Zone of consumption:- Example- US, Western Europe

TERRORISM (Definition as per US)

“Activities that appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population to influence policy of a government by intimidation or coercion or to affect the conduct of the government by assassination or kidnapping” Terrorism can be Four types:-

  1. State Terrorism: – acts committed by government as WMD (weapon for mass destruction) used by Iraq in 80s.
  2. International Terrorism: – acts planned, executed across more than one nation.
  3. Domestic Terrorism: – acts planned, executed in one nation.
  4. Religious Terrorism: – Example- Islamic Terrorism.

A decade ago, motivations for terrorism and organised crime were different. The main objective of terrorism was to pursue power; acquisition of power and to use power through political, ideological, religious or ethnic means but of organised crime was money and power through criminal activity.

Today, most terrorists are engaged in some form of organised crime and a growing number of organised crime cartels are engaging in political violence. While some terrorist organisations may only profit briefly or indirectly from organised crime, others converge and become a hybrid organisation displaying both characteristics.

The UN office on drugs and crime (UNDC) recently issued a report on drug trafficking as a means to finance terrorism, highlighting the case of heroin trafficking, terrorist and warlords in Afghanistan. AL Qaeda is a terrorist network that has decentralized cells, franchises and associates that conduct criminal activities across the globe.


  • Hierarchical structure
  • Limited membership: – AL Qaida manual contains the qualification of members and Italian mafia only recruit Italian citizen.
  • Violence to achieve goals
  • Rules and regulations that defines behavior
  • Specialization (division of labour)
  • Desire to create monopoly


  • Activity appropriation: – use of similar methods without working together.
  • Nexus: – each group relies upon support and expertise of others.
  • Symbiotic relationship: – groups develop cooperative relationship to defend each other. Growing symbiosis makes both crime and terrorism powerful.
  • Transformation: – from criminal to terrorist and from terrorist to criminal.

Nexus between organised crime and terrorism increases due to four major developments: –

  1. Globalisation: – Free flow of trade and human provide opportunity for both to intermingle.
  2. Communication revolution through internet
  3. End of cold war: – reduce state financing of terrorist. Thus terrorist indulge in criminal activities to fill financial needs.
  4. Global war on terror: – global cooperation to crack down terrorist financing.


  • Internet and cyberspace are essential tools for recruitment, propaganda, planning, logistics, fund raising, money laundering.
  • Other crimes include identity theft, video piracy, credit card fraud, phishing. Internet also serves as a platform to traffic women and children, smuggle illegal migrants, sell weapons, obtain assassination services, sell bomb making equipments, illegal drugs sell and to deal with toxic waste.
  • Both profited from anonymity of internet to diffuse propaganda, extort victims and recruit new people.
  • Prisons acts as meeting ground for organized crime and terrorism. It also helps in recruitment. The terrorists who executed the Madrid train bombings in 2004 were organized criminals that were recruited in prison by terrorists.
  • Access to travel documents is as important as weapons because most acts of terrorism are facilitated by stolen identity.
  • Shared tactics have resulted in strategic alliances between organized crime and terrorist groups, especially if they are operating in same territory.


Impact Direct impact Indirect impact
Global security Protracted wars
Weaken fragile states
Weaken licit trade
Weakens access to resources
Retrenchment of globalization
Human security
Global health
Global migration
Greater economic disparity
Greater pressure on resources
Lower global GDP
Destruction of biosphere
Failed peacekeeping
Government Governance failure
Failing and failed states
Corrupt governments
Lost of government revenues
Trade imbalances
Lost GDP
Lost investments
Reduction in tourism
Shift of power to criminal gangs
Prevents human development
Society/human security Erosion of trust in government
Exposure to crime/violence
Illegal trade
High risk environments (pollution, drugs, arms)
Loss of legal business revenues
Illegal trafficking of men/women/children
Natural resources/wildlife/arms
Rise of populist and criminal groups
Reduction of resources (food, oil, water, land)
Higher cost of living
Higher drug addiction and increase in HIV/AIDS



Northeast: – Numbers of insurgent groups over a time have morphed into crime syndicates.

  • All militant group run a parallel government or have their areas of influence involved in collecting money directly from people, and from government funds due to misgovernance, government officials threatened or bribed to award contracts and also essential commodities like rice and kerosene and sold to public at much higher rate.
  • Extortion, kidnap, contracts, black marketing transnational drugs and arms to finance terrorism.
  • Infamous entry points from Southeast Asia to India- moreh and Chittagong hill tract especially cox’s bazaar.

Kashmir: – Unlike northeast reliance of funds from extortion and other related means is minimal.

  • No parallel government and government resources do not reach militants hands.
  • External funds by Pakistan and other Muslim countries especially gulf.
  • Hawala (Money laundering) transactions take place swiftly and effectively in Kashmir.
  • Another relationship is through the spread of counterfeit currency. Terrorists are the main courier of this currency.

Indian mujahidin resorted to crime to raise funds. This includes robberies and kidnapping.

Maoist’s terror movement also uses extortion, robberies of banks and kidnapping for fundraising.

Dawood Ibrahim owns a well organised company in Pakistan, Thailand, South Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia and UAE to franchises in the fields of drug trafficking and gambling dens. He provides fund and information to Pakistan to continue terrorist activity across the border and inside India. He was also accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts carried out under pressure of Inter services investigation (ISI) agency of Pakistan.


  • Cooperation in transnational policing such as building liaison networks, personnel exchanges, foreign training programs, technical assistance programs, joint operations and capacity building programs.
  • Improving legal systems by training members of judiciary or international law or human rights.
  • Professionalizing police training to include respect for human rights.
  • Awareness raising efforts need to focus on the responsibility of individuals to dry up demand by stopping the purchase of illegal products and services.
  • Need to strengthen financial intelligence to stop financial flows between cooperating terror and crime graphs.
Domain Possible response
Domestic Increase operational capacity by strengthening: –
Internal expertise and access to technologies
Cooperation with other domestic police and counter-terrorism agencies and financial regulatory agencies.
Cooperation with national foreign policy and international relations agencies.
Develop exceptional military and intelligence expertise.
Strengthen criminal codes and criminal justice.
Existing international/intergovernmental networks Strengthen current cooperative agreements with foreign police, security organizations and UN agencies.
Strengthen links with aid programs to build capacity in countries that are potential sources of organized crime and terrorism
New international/intergovernmental networks New bilateral and multilateral agreements on operational cooperation, mutual assistance, extradition.
Create common databases and mutual access to intelligence.
Harmonize legislation on money laundering and counter-terrorist financing.
New supranational structures Create new structures for international exchange of best practice and training



Convergence of organized crime and terrorism has now become utmost threat for international security and peace. Its widening base at grassroot level was the cause of many failed states like Afghanistan, Kosovo etc and is weakening many states like Pakistan, North Korea etc. Its eradication can be possible only if cooperation will be achieved at international level and counter-terrorism programs along with development schemes will be implemented at grassroot level.

Avinash Kumar Choudhary




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