Information Sharing and Intelligence Gathering Technologies
Description of the terror Group: Taliban
The Taliban Group is regarded as a Sunni Islamist nationalist and pro-Pashtun group that came to existence is the early 1990s and took control of Afghanistan between 1996 to October 2001. The group was an initiative by students and was composed of laymen studying Islam in Afghan and Pakistani religious classes. The group began in Southern Afghanistan and spread to the rest of the country through military conquest. The group attacked and seized Kabul in 1996 had the president killed to establish an Islamic State in Afghanistan. The group put in place strict laws based on the Quran teachings. Policies established were often merciless especially on the plight of women, political opponents, and religious minorities.
The group’s leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, died in 2013 and the group revealed Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Mansur as the new leader in 2015. The Taliban group in Afghan was in charge of carrying out insurgent attacks in Afghanistan and used a pattern of low-level ambush and hit-and-run. The group increased its pace of attacks in the country in 2015. Taliban gathered its strength from the weakly governed region in Pakistan where the US-led military invasion in Afghanistan pushed the group In Pakistan to regroup (Phillips & Kamen, 2017).
Taliban’s Use of Technological Tools
The Taliban has been known to use technological tools by using remote triggered improvised explosive devices (IEDs). This was a development beyond the hard-wired technology that had been in use. The terror group is day in and out becoming sophisticated tactics. These advancements especially in wiring and deploying has been influenced by the availability of jihadi training manuals that offers direct instructions from the renowned terror groups such as Al-Qaeda (Brachman, 2006).
There has been increased adoption of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) which makes it more difficult to pinpoint the whereabouts and identities of these individuals. The VoIP services allow conversations to take place of the internet unlike the conventional phone lines or cellphones towers. This has gained increasingly popularity as it offers a cheaper means for long distance and international calls. Using other services such as Skype and Vonage makes it possible for a user to make another VoIP-enabled device globally at a standard discounted rate. The gained popularity for the terror group as the intelligence phone-tapping techniques used for old technologies do not work.
The internet has been a prime technological tool that Taliban has been using to recruit tools for insurgents. These extremists have been known to use chat rooms, dedicated servers and website as well as social media tools for carrying out propaganda and means of recruitment & organizations for training grounds and fund-raising activities. Taliban maintains YouTube channels and Facebook pages which may are often used to radicalize Western-based sympathizers. They also offer s means of communication between these isolated actors and the large organized network (Theohary, 2011).
One main communication networks that Taliban just like many other terror groups have adopted is the use of internet. The internet has the favorite of the group as it allows ease in access, has limited regulations and government control, reaches out to large audience, enhances anonymity if communication and provides a fast delivery of information. Taliban has been using the internet to run their social media platforms. Taliban has a known active twitter account in operation since May 2011 and has gained many followed. The terror group makes tweets frequently.
Fusion centers were created through integration different streams of information and intelligence from the federal government, state, local government and private sector. The goal of the fusion centers was to prevent terror attack and respond to natural disaster disasters and threats in an effective manner. While the fusion centers are created at the level of state, they get federal support through financial assistance through Homeland Security Grant Program, sponsoring security clearances, and offering personnel. This has been encompassed in the national strategies by US to curb threats especially from terrorism both locally and abroad. The network of fusion centers has created an option of forming a central node in sharing terrorism homeland security and other law enforcement information (Masse, et al. 2007).
Unethical application of Forms of Technology
Taliban forces have been known to use violence against the groups hindering the advancement of their ideological agenda. One of the target for their attacks include the NATO coalition forces, Afghan security forces, Pakistan military as well as general unarmed public. These faces the wrath of the mujahedeen’s armed as suicide bombers and the application of improvised explosive devices taking advantage of technology and converting the good intended forms of technology to killer weapons. Despite claiming to religious supports and promoters, the group is equally involved in organized crime such as the opium and heroin trade.
It has been recently observed that Taliban which was previously seen as group of uneducated fighters. However this trend has shifted to having groups of dangerous fighters who more techs savvy are using the latest digital technology to carry out plans against NATO and Afghan military. This was revealed through a video showcasing an attack on US military base in Khost, Pakistan. The militants are seen being briefed using, model and satellite images of the target. This indicates that the group has taken up the technological advanced on GPS to locate, plan, and carry out terror attacks. The reliance on GPS, Google Maps, cameras and other technological appliances has had an effect of causing more casualties following well planned attacks (AFP, 2012).
The Taliban group has most recently been reported to use drones to film a suicide attacks. The aerial video indicated insurgents deploying car bomb to a police station near a hospital. While these videos are used to spread propaganda, they are at times used to showcase the group effects and showing bodies of the casualties or the actual beheading taking place (Bodetti & Barakzai, 2016).
The terrorists have been known to take advantage of the internet to carry out their stealth activities. Terrorists have been known to come up with sophisticated encryption tools and creative techniques through the internet and offer a relatively secure ways of correspondence. This allows them to hide messages in graphic files and perform dead dropping with no detection (Kaplan, 2009).
Justification of US applying Technology against Taliban
USA is guided by policies to curb terrorism by pressuring the terrorists, deter attacks and responds forcefully to terror attacks. This is achieved through enhanced law enforcement and intelligence efforts as well as military efforts. The US relies on drones to provide intelligence against the terror groups and increase the soldier protection and preserving the force. The US justifies its acts of using drone technology as one of ways of self-defense. The International law provides a right to self-defense to counter an armed attack. This makes the US justify its action of using drone to carry out attacks on perceived danger to its citizens, resources and the allies (Gulluk, 2014).
AFP. (2012). New Generation of Tech-Savvy Taliban Fighters. The Express Tribune.
Bodetti, A., & Barakzai, H. (2016). Here Comes the Taliban Drones. The Diplomat.
Brachman, J. (2006). High-Tech Terro: Al-Qaeda’s Use of New Technology. New York: The Combating Terrorism Center.
Gulluk, S. (2014). Justification of the US for Drone Strikes in Fighting AGainst Terrorism .
Masse, T., O’Neil, S., & Rollins, J. (2007). Fusion Centers: Issues and Options forCongress. Retrieved from https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Xd2fuazvlcoJ:https://epic.org/privacy/fusion/crs_fusionrpt.pdf+&cd=10&hl=en&ct=clnk&client=firefox-b-ab
Phillips, M., & Kamen, E. (2017). Entering the Black Hole: The Taliban, Terroris, and Organised Crime. Journal of Terrorism Research.
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