Mujahideen (Arabic: مجاهدين, muǧāhidīn, literally "strugglers") is a term for Muslims fighting in a war or involved in any other struggle.[1] Mujahid, and its plural, mujahideen, come from the same Arabic root as jihad ("struggle"). The word is the plural form of مجاهد, muǧāhid, which, literally translated from Arabic means a "struggler". In Islamic scripture, the status of mujahid is unequal to qaid, one who does not join the jihad.

Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedeen, mujahedīn, mujahidīn, and mujaheddīn.


Arabic words usually have triliterals, which are triconsonantal (three-consonant) roots. The root of mujahidin is J-H-D (ج-ه-د), meaning "effort or sacrifice" ("Jihad" can mean to struggle and "Mujahideen" can mean struggler.) However, the particular verb stem of J-H-D from which both jihad and mujahid are derived means "to exert effort against" or "to struggle". Mujahid is originally, therefore, "someone who struggles". The term has, even in Arabic, taken on meanings that are specifically religious, or specifically military or paramilitary, or both.

Like the concept and title Ghazi, it has been used in formal titles of Muslim leaders who prided themselves on (and legitimated their conquests by) Jihad bis saïf, holy war in the name of establishing Islamic rule, even at very high political level: no lesser ruler than Sultan Murad Khan II Khoja-Ghazi, sixth Sovereign of the House of Osman (1421–1451), had as full style 'Abu'l Hayrat, Sultan ul-Mujahidin, Khan of Khans, Grand Sultan of Anatolia and Rumelia, and of the Cities of Adrianople and Philippolis, including the formal title "Sultan of mujahideen".

In English, the word is recorded since 1958, in a Pakistani context, adopted from Persian and Arabic, as the plural of mujahid "one who fights in a jihad", in modern use, for "Muslim guerilla insurgent."

In the late 20th century and early 21st century, the term "mujahideen" became the name of various armed fighters who subscribe to militant Islamic ideologies, although there is not always an explicit "holy" or "warrior" meaning of the word.

Mujahideen of Afghanistan

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Mujahideen leader Ismail Khan walks among Afghan fighters.
The best-known mujahideen were the various loosely-aligned Afghan opposition groups that initially fought against the incumbent pro-Marxist Afghan government. At the Afghan government's request, the Soviet Union became involved in the war. The mujahideen insurgency then fought against the Soviet troops during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. After the Soviet Union pulled out of the conflict in the late 1980s the mujahideen then fought against each other in the subsequent Afghan Civil War.

The mujahideen were significantly financed, armed, and trained by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the Carter and Reagan administrations, Saudi Arabia, the People's Republic of China, several European countries, Iran, and Pakistan (during the Zia-ul-Haq military regime). The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was the interagent used in the majority of these activities to disguise the sources of support for the resistance.

Ronald Reagan praised them as freedom fighters, and the 1988 Rambo III portrayed them as heroic.

A wealthy Saudi named Osama bin Laden was a prominent organizer and financier of an all Arab islamist group of foreign volunteers; his Maktab al-Khadamat (MAK) (Office of Services) funnelled money, arms, and Muslim fighters from around the muslim world into Afghanistan, with the assistance and support of the Saudi and Pakistani governments[2]. In 1988, bin Laden broke away from the MAK.
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artists impression of an Afghan Mujahid aboard a C-141.
Afghanistan's resistance movement was born in chaos, spread and triumphed chaotically, and did not find a way to govern differently. Virtually all of its war was waged locally by regional warlords. As warfare became more sophisticated, outside support and regional coordination grew. Even so, the basic units of mujahideen organization and action continued to reflect the highly segmented nature of Afghan society[3].

In the course of the guerrilla war, leadership came to be distinctively associated with the title of "commander". It applied to independent leaders, eschewing identification with elaborate military bureaucracy associated with such ranks as general. As the war produced leaders of reputation, "commander" was conferred on leaders of fighting units of all sizes, signifying pride in independence, self-sufficiency, and distinct ties to local community. The title epitomized Afghan pride in their struggle against an overwhelmingly-powerful foe. Segmentation of power and religious leadership were the two values evoked by nomenclature generated in the war. Neither had been favored in ideology of the former Afghan state.

Olivier Roy estimates that after four years of war, there were at least 4,000 bases from which mujahideen units operated. Most of these were affiliated with the seven expatriate parties headquartered in Pakistan, which served as sources of supply and varying degrees of supervision. Significant commanders typically led 300 or more men, controlled several bases and dominated a district or a sub-division of a province. Hierarchies of organization above the bases were attempted. Their operations varied greatly in scope, the most ambitious being achieved by Ahmed Shah Massoud of the Panjshir valley north of Kabul. He led at least 10,000 trained troops at the end of the Soviet war and had expanded his political control of Tajik dominated areas to Afghanistan's northeastern provinces under the Supervisory Council of the North[3].

Roy also describes regional, ethnic and sectarian variations in mujahideen organization. In the Pashtun areas of the east, south and southwest, tribal structure, with its many rival sub-divisions, provided the basis for military organization and leadership. Mobilization could be readily linked to traditional fighting allegiances of the tribal lashkar (fighting force). In favorable circumstances such formations could quickly reach more than 10,000, as happened when large Soviet assaults were launched in the eastern provinces, or when the mujahideen besieged towns, such as Khost in Paktia province. But in campaigns of the latter type the traditional explosions of manpower--customarily common immediately after the completion of harvest--proved obsolete when confronted by well dug-in defenders with modern weapons. Lashkar durability was notoriously short; few sieges succeeded[3].

Mujahideen mobilization in non-Pashtun regions faced very different obstacles. Prior to the invasion, few non-Pashtuns possessed firearms. Early in the war they were most readily available from army troops or gendarmerie who defected or were ambushed. The international arms market and foreign military support tended to reach the minority areas last.

In the northern regions, little military tradition had survived upon which to build an armed resistance. Mobilization mostly came from political leadership closely tied to Islam.

Roy convincingly contrasts the social leadership of religious figures in the Persian and Turkish speaking regions of Afghanistan with that of the Pashtuns. Lacking a strong political representation in a state dominated by Pashtuns, minority communities commonly looked to pious learned or charismatically revered pirs (saints) for leadership. Extensive Sufi and maraboutic networks were spread through the minority communities, readily available as foundations for leadership, organization, communication and indoctrination. These networks also provided for political mobilization, which led to some of the most effective of the resistance operations during the war[3].

Many Muslims from other countries volunteered to assist various mujahideen groups in Afghanistan, and gained significant experience in guerrilla warfare. Some groups of these veterans have been significant factors in more recent conflicts in and around the Muslim world (e.g. Bosnia).

The mujahideen won when the Soviet Union pulled troops out of Afghanistan in 1989, followed by the fall of the Mohammad Najibullah regime in 1992. However, the mujahideen did not establish a united government, many of the larger mujahideen groups began to fight each other, and they were in turn ousted from power by the radical splinter group known as the Taliban in 1996. After several years of this fighting, a village mullah organized religious students into an armed movement, with the backing of Pakistan, who was being funded by the United States, which found the existing government to be too Russian-influenced, even following the collapse of the Soviet Union. This movement became known as the Taliban, meaning "students", and referring to the Saudi-backed religious schools known for producing extremism. With each success the Taliban had, their popularity and numbers grew.

By 2001, the Taliban, with backing from the Pakistani ISI (military intelligence) and possibly even the regular Pakistan Army, had defeated most of the militias and controlled most of Afghanistan. The remaining militias were in the north-east of the country. The opposition allied themselves together and became known as the National Islamic United Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan — the United Front, or Northern Alliance. In 2001 with U.S. and International military aid, they ousted the Taliban from power and formed a new government under Hamid Karzai.

The Afghan mujahideen also participated in the Nagorno-Karabakh War, aiding the Azeri forces in their war against the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh Armenian forces.

Mujahideen in Bosnia

During the Yugoslav wars, Bosniak forces received financial and military aid from Islamic countries. This military aid was partially sent in the form of experienced mujahideen troops. Organized in special units (like El Mujahid), they were known for their bravery and highly experienced personnels mostly from the Soviet war in Afghanistan. A number of these mujahideen fighters stayed in Bosnia when the war ended. They attained Bosnian citizenship, and are now living in several villages throughout Bosnia, where life is organized after the Islamic laws.[7] It is known that those who remained are concentrated around the city of Zenica and in villages near Brcko.

Mujahideen in Tajikistan

A former Soviet republic, Tajikistan plunged into civil war almost as soon as it became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. An Islamic party operates freely and according to its leader, Said Abdullah Nuri, it does not support any sort of holy war. The Tajiks have long fought a civil war themselves.

Many have spent years fighting in mountains and most have had more than enough. Besides, most Tajiks are suspicious of the Taliban. They greatly admired Ahmed Shah Masood, the military leader of the anti-Taliban alliance who was assassinated by the regime.

Pakistani-Kashmiri Mujahideen

In Pakistan and the former princely state of (Jammu and) Kashmir (disputed with India), militants opposing Indian rule are often known as mujahideen.

In 1947, the armed Mujahideen (Razakars), mostly Pashtun supported by the Pakistani Army, tried to force the annexation of Kashmir by Pakistan, as part of the population desired. Pakistan claimed the fighters were independent mujahideen helping a local insurgency, while India claimed that the invaders were Pakistani irregulars supported by the Pakistani Army.

The ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh called upon help from India and the then Indian Prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru airlifted Indian troops to the region and tried to drive off the insurgents.

The Kashmiri and Pakistani Mujahideen since then, with support from Pakistan's ISI and Army (see Operation Gibraltar), have been waging an armed campaign in Jammu and Kashmir. This resulted in India moving over half a million troops into Kashmir to suppress the insurgency and the ensuing violence has claimed more than 80,000 lives so far.

Several different militant groups have since taken root in Indian Kashmir. Most noticeable of these groups are Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Al-Umar Mujahideen (AuM) and Harkat ul-Mujahideen (HuM).[8] A 1996 report by Human Rights Watch estimated the number of active militant extremists at 3,200.[9]

Mujahideen in Waziristan

Waziristan's new landmarks speak eloquently of the intensity of the conflict that still rages between Taliban and al-Qaeda militants and the Pakistani security forces.

Mujahideen in Somalia

The Somali Civil War (2006) changed radically due to Ethiopian involvement. Before their entry into the conflict in July, 2006, the struggle between the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) and the warlord-based Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) and the fledgling Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was an internal struggle between Islamic Somalis, particularly those who preferred a secular state to one ruled by sharia law. Now faced with the presence of forces from the historically Christian kingdom of Ethiopia, the ICU began to frame the war as one of jihad, and called its citizens to rise in arms to throw the Ethiopians out of the country. This threat had been made as early as 2005[10].

On July 1, 2006, a Web-posted message purportedly written by Osama bin Laden urged Somalis to build an Islamic state in the country and warned western states that his al Qaeda network would fight against them if they intervened there.[11] Foreign fighters began to arrive, though there were official denials of the presence of mujahideen in the country. Even so, the threat of jihad was made openly and repeatedly in the months proceeding the Battle of Baidoa.[12]

On December 23, 2006, Islamists, for the first time, called upon international fighters to join their cause stating "We're saying our country is open to Muslims worldwide. Let them fight in Somalia and wage jihad, and God willing, attack Addis Ababa".[13] The term mujahideen is now openly used by the ICU, such as in this quote: "Janakow said the international community remained silent as fighting rages in Somalia today, but promised that world governments will speak out 'when our Mujahideen (holy warriors) reach parts of Ethiopia, including Addis Ababa.'"[14]

On December 27, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was quoted saying up to 1,000 Islamist forces, mostly foreign nationals, had been killed in the fighting, "The only forces we are pursuing are Eritreans who are hiding behind the skirts of Somali women, and terrorist mujahideen."<ref name=>Up to 1,000 Islamists dead in Ethiopia offensive-Meles Reuters

Iraqi Insurgency

The term mujahideen is sometimes applied by sympathizers and regional experts to the Iraqi insurgency against the US-led allies whose invasion destroyed Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist republic, and against the subsequent Iraqi regimes in need of allied military support, while the insurgents comprise a wide, incoherent spectrum of forces, with or without crucial Islamic ideology.

A wide range of armed groups are operating in Iraq, feeding into violence which has prompted fears of civil war. Much insurgent and militia activity is shadowy and difficult to trace, but here is a guide to the main players.

Sunni Mujahideen

A section of the insurgency comprising former elements of Saddam Hussein's regime, Baath party supporters, former Iraqi soldiers and secular Sunnis is often referred to as "Sunni nationalists". Analysts believe that in the wake of the US-led invasion, some former regime figures provided the nascent insurgency with access to regime funds and weapons caches.

In September 2005, an Iraqi court convicted a nephew of the deposed leader of funding insurgents. Commentators have also blamed much of the violence on the decision by former US governor Paul Bremer to disband the Iraqi army in 2003, without disarming it.US forces have faced their greatest challenges in areas of central Iraq - such as the city of Falluja - that had a strong tradition of military service.

Since late 2005, the US has said it is trying to drive a wedge between the more extreme Islamist groups and the more secular and moderate nationalists. Sunni insurgent groups were split over participation in elections in December 2005, although support from some boosted significant Sunni turnout and thus Sunni influence on the new government. But a report by Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said even Sunni leaders who were participating in - rather than attacking - the political process, were forming their own forces to counter the existing Shia militias.

Shia Mujahideen

Some Iraqi political parties have armed wings, despite US pressure to disband militias.A growing trend of sectarian killings in Baghdad and other mixed Sunni and Shia areas of the country has prompted fears of civil war. Groups of corpses, typically with hands bound and gunshot wounds to the head, sometimes bearing signs of torture, have regularly been found. In some cases gunmen, sometimes dressed in the uniforms of government security forces, abduct victims or pull them from cars at checkpoints.There are widespread suspicions that militias linked to two key Shia parties are involved in targeting Sunnis. While the allegations have not been proven, these militias are becoming increasingly prominent as sectarian divisions grow.

The US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, has described such groups as "the infrastructure of civil war". Separately from the main militias, some Shia have also formed informal defence forces which provide security for local neighbourhoods, with armed guards carrying out patrols and manning roadblocks.

Azeri Aid

The Afghan mujaheddin also participated in the Nagorno-Karabakh War, aiding the Azeri forces in their war against Nagorno-Karabakh Armenian forces that were seeking self-determination. They did not aid much and Nagorno-Karabakh forces gained de facto independence.

Kurdish Islamist

Ansar al-Islam

Ansar al-Islam or Supporters of Islam is a radical Kurdish Islamist that is supportive of Saddam Hussein's regime. This group is located in the pseudo-autonomous Northern Iraq. This group has ties with Taliban and al-Qaeda. It is the most radical group operating in the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

The group was established in December 2001 after a merger between Jund al-Islam, led by Abu Abdallah al-Shafi'i and the Islamic Movement splinter group led by Mullah Krekar. Both leaders are believed to have served in Afghanistan. The group is based in Biyarah and surrounding areas near the border with Iran.

Ansar al-Islam recent activities include: razing of beauty salons, burning a schools for girls, and murdered women in the streets for refusing to wear the burqa. It has seized a Taliban-style enclave of 4,000 civilians and several villages near the Iranian border. It is also responsible for ambushing and killing of 42 Kurdish soldiers. Ansar al-Islam is in a state of war with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). It was responsible for the assassination in 2001 of a senior official of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Franso Hariri, and for the attempted killing of Burhan Salih, head of the PUK-led Iraqi Kurdistan regional government. However, Ansar al-Islam is not in armed confrontation with the KDP.

According to some reports, the group has received $600,000 from al-Qaeda, and a delivery of weapons and Toyota Land Cruisers. There are also reports stating that Ansar al-Islam received $35,000 from the Mukhabarat branch of Iraqi Intelligence Service, in addition to a considerable quantity of arms. The leader of Ansar al-Islam, Mullah Krekar is receiving financial and legal support from the Norwegian government, and is enjoying full freedom in Norway.

In early March 2003, the air attack pulverized the mountain base of Ansar al-Islam by US troops. US officials were triumphant last spring, even as the broader Iraq invasion was still underway, after a three-day assault. Gen. Tommy Franks declared that a "massive terrorist facility in northern Iraq" had been "attacked and destroyed" by a joint US-Kurdish operation.Lengthy interviews with several Ansar members in custody, and with officials and intelligence sources of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in northern Iraq, however, yield a more ambiguous picture.These sources describe a group now so decimated and demoralized that even true believers admit it is unlikely to be reborn according to its old template.Instead, they say, elements of the group have begun operating in smaller cells.

The strength of this group estimated about 700 members.

Mujahideen in Chechnya

In the case of the Chechen-Russian conflict, the term Mujahideen has often been used to refer to all separatist fighters. In this article however, it will be used to refer to the foreign, non-Chechen fighters who joined the separatists’ cause for the sake of Jihad. In other literature dealing with this conflict they are often called Ansaar (helpers) to prevent confusion with the native fighters.

Foreign Mujahideen have played a part in both Chechen wars. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent Chechen declaration of independence, foreign fighters started entering the region and allied themselves with local Islamist rebels (most notably Shamil Basayev). Most of them were veterans of the Soviet-Afghan war and prior to the Russian invasion, they used their expertise to train the Chechen separatists. During the First Chechen War they were notorious and feared for their ‘hit and run’ guerilla tactics. Ambushing military convoys and raiding bases, they inflicted severe casualties on the badly prepared Russian Army. The Mujahideen also made a significant financial contribution to the separatists’ cause. With their access to the immense wealth of Salafist charities like al-Haramein, they soon became an invaluable source of funds for the Chechen resistance, which had little resources of its own.

After the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya most of the Mujahideen decided to remain in the country. In 1999, foreign Mujahideen would play an important role in the ill-fated Chechen incursion into Dagestan, where they suffered a decisive defeat and where forced to retreat back into Chechnya. The incursion provided the new Russian government with a pretext for intervention and in December 1999 Russian ground forces invaded Chechnya again.

In the Second Chechen War the separatists were less successful. Faced with a better prepared and more determined Russian army, the Chechens were unable to hold their ground and in February 2000, Russian officials claimed the separatists had been defeated. The Russians also succeeded in eliminating the most prominent Mujahideen commanders (most notably Ibn al-Khattab, Abu al-Walid and Abu Omar al-Saif).

Although the region has since been far from stable, separatist activity has decreased dramatically and although some foreign fighters are still active in Chechnya, interest seems to have shifted to other conflicts like the Iraqi insurgency, the War in Somalia and the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.


Hezbollah - or the Party of God - is a powerful political and military organisation of Shia Muslims in Lebanon. It emerged with financial backing from Iran in the early 1980s and began a struggle to drive Israeli troops from Lebanon.

Hezbollah presents itself as a force of resistance for Lebanon and the region. In May 2000 this aim was achieved, thanks largely to the success of the party's military arm, the Islamic Resistance.

In return, the movement, which represents Lebanon's Shia Muslims - the country's single largest community - won the respect of most Lebanese. It now has an important presence in the Lebanese parliament and has built broad support by providing social services and health care. It also has an influential TV station, al-Manar but it still has a militia that refuses to demilitarise, despite UN resolution 1559, passed in 2004, which called for the disarming of militias as well as the withdrawal of foreign (i.e about 14,000 Syrian) forces from Lebanon.

As long ago as 2000, after Israel's withdrawal, Hezbollah was under pressure to integrate its forces into the Lebanese army and focus on its political and social operations. However, while it capitalised on its political gains, it continued to describe itself as a force of resistance not only for Lebanon, but for the region.

Palestinian Militant


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Flag frequently used by Hamas supporters.

In January 2006, HAMAS translated its widespread popularity among Palestinians into a dramatic win in the Parliamentary elections. Its new-found political status did not make it any less controversial, however. Branded a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US and the EU, it is seen by its supporters as a legitimate fighting force defending Palestinians from a brutal military occupation.

It is the largest Palestinian militant Islamist organisation, formed in 1987 at the beginning of the first intifada, or Palestinian uprising against Israel's occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. The group's short-term aim has been to drive Israeli forces from the occupied territories. To achieve this it has launched attacks on Israeli troops and settlers in the Palestinian territories and against civilians in Israel.

King Hussein was outraged by Israel's action and was only placated when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu released HAMAS's jailed spiritual leader and founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. While King Hussein tolerated Hamas's presence, his successor, King Abdullah II had the group's headquarters closed down and senior figures expelled to Qatar.

Islamic Jihad

Islamic Jihad may be one of the best known names associated with Palestinian militancy, but it has always been a relatively small and shadowy organisation.

The group - made up of a handful of loosely affiliated factions divided up into cells - has traditionally concentrated on attacking Israel, eschewing the prominent social, welfare and political role taken on by other Islamist groups like Hamas or the Lebanon's Hezbollah. This is a reflection of Jihad's ideological stance which holds that the Arab-Israeli conflict will only be resolved through armed confrontation.Israel is considered - along with pro-Western, secular Arab regimes - as a manifestation of Western imperialism in the Islamic lands; going into battle against it is therefore the first step to fulfilling the goals of Islam.

Members of Islamic Jihad have claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks since the outbreak of the intifada in September 2000, ranging from armed infiltrations of Jewish settlements in occupied lands and ambushes to car bombs and suicide bombings on Israeli buses.

Islamist Insurgency in Philippines

Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)

Followers of Islam - called Moros or Moors by the Spanish - make up a sizeable population of the region.

The Moro National Liberation Front first appeared in the early 1970s, fighting for an independent Moro nation. The group signed a peace agreement with the Manila Government in 1976, but this failed to stick. Another agreement, signed in 1996, gave predominantly Muslim areas a degree of self-rule, setting up the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The ARMM is composed of the mainland provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, and the island provinces of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan. As part of the deal, the MNLF chairman and founder of the group, Nur Misuari, was installed as the new regional governor.But his rule ended in violence in November 2001, when he led a failed uprising. He is now in jail.Another MNLF leader, Parouk Hussin, took over as ARMM governor in 2002.

Parouk Hussin still retains a loyal support base, but the MNLF has become weaker over the years, and many factions have splintered from the main group. Nur Misuari still has a small band of followers, who remain actively opposed to the current situation.

In February 2005, supporters loyal to Misuari launched a series of attacks on army troops in Jolo, the largest of the Sulu islands. The trigger for the violence was thought to be the launch of a huge military operation to target the armed Muslim group Abu Sayyaf - which is alleged to have ties with the Misuari faction.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is a more militant rebel group, which split from the MNLF in 1977. The MILF has a long-term aim of creating a separate Islamic state in the southern Philippines, but analysts say the group may well settle for a certain degree of Muslim autonomy.

The MILF puts more emphasis on its Islamic roots than the MNLF. Many of its senior figures are clerics. Based in central Mindanao, the MILF has broad popular support in rural areas, where the lack of economic development has encouraged dissent. In 2000, the army under then-President Joseph Estrada launched a crackdown on the 12,500-strong group. The following January Mr Estrada was deposed amid popular protests, and his successor, Gloria Arroyo, revived talks.

The situation worsened in February 2003, when the Philippine military accused the MILF of harbouring members of the Pentagon kidnap gang, and launched a new offensive. The small but militant Pentagon gang, which both the US and the Philippines class as a terrorist group, had been accused of kidnapping foreigners. The MILF denied providing sanctuary to Pentagon members. It also denied being behind a bomb blast at Davao City airport in March 2003 which killed 21 people.

The police blamed the MILF for the blast, and filed multiple murder charges against the group's founder and then leader, Salamat Hashim.But as 2003 wore on, there were signs of a breakthrough in relations between Manila and the MILF. Shortly before his death from a heart attack in July, Salamat Hashim issued a statement renouncing terrorism and underlining the MILF's commitment to achieving a peace settlement.

A ceasefire was agreed, and both sides are currently trying to negotiate a peace deal.One factor which is complicating this process is the allegation that MILF has links with foreign terrorists -including Jemaah Islamiah , the South East Asian group blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings . The MILF denies the claims. Despite the truce, skirmishes continue between troops and MILF militants.

In January 2005, security personnel used helicopter gunships and heavy artillery to defend themselves against 200 MILF fighters.

Abu Sayyaf

Abu Sayyaf is the smallest and most radical of the Islamic separatist groups in the southern Philippines.

It is best-known for a series of kidnappings of Western nationals and Filipinos, for which it has received several large ransom payments. Gloria Arroyo restarted negotiations with the MILF.In June 2002, US-trained Philippine commandos tried to rescue three hostages being held on Basilan island. Two of the hostages - one an American citizen - were killed in the resulting shootout. Abu Sayyaf's stated goal is an independent Islamic state in Mindanao and the Sulu islands, but the government views the rebels as little more than criminals, and refuses to hold any form of talks with them.

Abu Sayyaf - which means "Sword of God" in Arabic - split from the MNLF in 1991, under the leadership of Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani, who was killed in a clash with Philippine police in December 1998. His younger brother,Khadafi Janjalani, took over as leader, although he was killed by Philippines troops in September 2006.

Philippines troops also claimed to have killed another senior Abu Sayyaf leader, Abu Sulaiman, also known as Jainal Antal Sali, in January 2007.Nationwide support for Abu Sayyaf is limited, but analysts say many locals in its stronghold areas of Jolo and Basilan tolerate the rebels and even work for them, attracted by the prospect of receiving lucrative ransom payments.

Both the MNLF and MILF have condemned the Abu Sayyaf's activities, and the US has included the group in its list of "terrorist" organisations, saying it has links with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. US troops have been deployed to help the Philippine army stamp out the group, but the future extent of the American role remains unclear.

So far the US troops are restricted to a training and advisory position, as the Philippine constitution bans foreign troops from taking part in actual combat but the issue is a subject of ongoing debate between Manila and Washington. Sporadic fighting continues between Abu Sayyaf gunmen and Philippine troops, and the group has claimed responsibility for a series of bomb attacks in recent years.

In October 2004, six members of Abu Sayyaf were charged with murder and attempted murder over an attack the preceding February on a passenger ferry in Manila Bay. More than 100 people were killed when a bomb went off on the Superferry 14 - making it the worst known terrorist attack in the Philippines.

Abu Sayyaf is thought to number fewer than 500 core fighters, but the group continues to present enough of a problem to lead the government to launch occasional major offensives in an effort to wipe the rebels

Mujahideen in Myanmar

A sizable number of mujahideen are present and concentrated in the province of Arakan, Myanmar.[15] They were much more active before the 1962 coup d'etat by General Ne Win. Ne Win carried out some military operations targeting them over a period of two decades. The prominent one was "Operation King Dragon" which took place in 1978. As a result, many Muslims in the region fled to neighboring country Bengladesh as refugees. Nevertheless, the Myanmar mujahideen are still active within the remote areas of Arakan.[16] Their associations with Bangladeshi mujahideen were significant but they have extended their networks to the international level and countries such as Pakistan, Malaysia, etc during the recent years. They collect donations, and get religious military training outside of Myanmar.[17]

Notes and references

1. ^ Oxford American Dictionary
2. ^ Maktab al-Khidamat;
3. ^ The Path to Victory and Chaos: 1979-92 - Library of Congress country studies(Retrieved Thursday 31, 2007)
4. ^
5. ^
6. ^
7. ^ "The Hidden Army Of Radical Islam", Sky News. Retrieved on 2007-02-04. 
8. ^ Kashmir Militant Extremists. Council on Foreign Relations (2006-07-12). Retrieved on 2007-02-09.
9. ^ VII. Violations by Militant Organizations. Human Rights Watch/Asia: India: India's Secret Army in Kashmir, New Patterns of Abuse Emerge in the Conflict. Human Rights Watch (May 1996). Retrieved on 2007-02-09.
10. ^ Somali 'jihad' on foreign troops BBC
11. ^ Bin Laden releases Web message on Iraq, Somalia USA Today
12. ^ Somalis vow holy war on Ethiopia BBC
13. ^ Somali Islamists urge Muslim fighters to join jihad Reuters
14. ^ Somali Islamists accuse Ethiopia of using excessive force Garowe Online
15. ^ THE ROVING EYE Jihad; The ultimate thermonuclear bomb by Pepe Escobar Oct 2001, Asia Times.
16. ^ Global Muslim News (Issue 14) July-Sept 1996, Nida'ul Islam magazine.
17. ^ THE ROVING EYE Jihad; The ultimate thermonuclear bomb by Pepe Escobar Oct 2001, Asia Times.

See also

Persons: Organisations:
People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI, also MEK, MKO) (Persian: سازمان مجاهدين خلق
..... Click the link for more information.
al-‘Arabiyyah in written Arabic (Kufic script):  
Pronunciation: /alˌʕa.raˈbij.ja/
Spoken in: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman,
..... Click the link for more information.
Muslim (Arabic: مسلم) is an adherent of the religion of Islam. The feminine form of 'Muslim' is Muslimah (Arabic: مسلمة).
..... Click the link for more information.
Jihad (Arabic: جهاد IPA: [ʤi'haːd]), meaning "to strive" or "to struggle", in Arabic, is an Islamic term and a duty for Muslims.
..... Click the link for more information.
ṣdʾm ḥsyn, which is meaningless to an untrained reader.
..... Click the link for more information.
triliteral (Arabic: جذر ثلاثي, ǧaḏr ṯalāṯī
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consonant is a sound in spoken language that is characterized by a closure or stricture of the vocal tract sufficient to cause audible turbulence. The word consonant
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The root is the primary lexical unit of a word, which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents. Content words in nearly all languages contain, and may consist only of, root morphemes.
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Jihad (Arabic: جهاد IPA: [ʤi'haːd]), meaning "to strive" or "to struggle", in Arabic, is an Islamic term and a duty for Muslims.
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Military has two broad meanings. In its first sense, it refers to soldiers and soldiering. In its second sense, it refers to armed forces as a whole. Over the years, military units have come in all shapes and sizes.
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Paramilitary designates forces whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military force, but which are not regarded as having the same status.[1] The term uses the Greek/Latin prefix para- ("beside"), also seen in words such as
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The term Ghazi (Arabic: غازى ) may refer to:
  • Ghazi warriors who fought for Islam.
  • King Ghazi of Iraq.
  • Ghazi Muslim rulers in South Asia.

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Murad II (June 1404, Amasya – February 3, 1451, Edirne) (Ottoman Turkish: مراد ثانى Murād-ı sānī, Turkish:II.
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House of Osman is the name to the administrative structure of the Ottoman Dynasty, which is part of state organization of the Ottoman Empire, however directly linked to dynasty.
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اتحاد، تنظيم، يقين محکم
Ittehad, Tanzim, Yaqeen-e-Muhkam   (Urdu)
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fɒːɾˈsiː in Perso-Arabic script (Nasta`liq style):  
Pronunciation: [fɒːɾˈsiː]
Spoken in: Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and areas of Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
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Jihad (Arabic: جهاد IPA: [ʤi'haːd]), meaning "to strive" or "to struggle", in Arabic, is an Islamic term and a duty for Muslims.
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Guerrilla warfare (also guerilla) is the unconventional warfare and combat with which small group combatants (usually civilians) use mobile tactics (ambushes, raids, etc) to combat a larger, less mobile formal army.
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insurgency, or insurrection, is an armed uprising, or revolt against an established civil or political authority. Persons engaging in insurgency are called insurgents
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Soviet war in Afghanistan also known as the Soviet-Afghan War was a nine-year conflict involving Soviet forces supporting the Marxist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) government against the largely Islamic fundamentalist Mujahideen insurgents.
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Afghan Civil War is a civil war in Afghanistan that began in 1978 and has continued since, though it has included several distinct phases.


Soviet involvement

Main article: Soviet war in Afghanistan

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"In God We Trust"   (since 1956)
"E Pluribus Unum"   ("From Many, One"; Latin, traditional)
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Central Intelligence Agency

Seal of the Central Intelligence Agency
Agency overview
Formed 26 July, 1947
Preceding Agency Central Intelligence Group

Headquarters Langley, Virginia, United States

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James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. (born October 1, 1924) was the thirty-ninth President of the United States from 1977 to 1981, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. Prior to becoming president, Carter served two terms in the Georgia Senate, and was the 76th Governor of Georgia
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United States Presidency of Ronald Reagan, also known as the Reagan Administration, lasted from 1981 until 1989 and was conservative, steadfastly anti-communist, employed a foreign policy of “peace through strength,” and favored tax cuts and smaller government.
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"There is no God but Allah; Muhammad is His messenger" (the Shahadah)
"Aash Al Maleek"
"Long live the King"
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March of the Volunteers (义勇军进行曲)
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