Author Biography

Greg Smith is a Senior Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force and a graduate of Henley-Putnam University where he completed his Bachelor's Degree in Terrorism and Counterterrorism Studies. He has participated in combat operations over the former Yugoslavia and is a veteran of operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He currently serves as the lead Air Force Instructor at the Joint Special Operations Forces Senior Enlisted Academy, Joint Special Operations University, MacDill AFB, Florida. He is an Evaluator Gunner in the AC-130U "Spooky" and AC- 130H "Spectre" gunships and has flown more than 3,400 hours including 291 combat missions and 1,375 combat hours.



Subject Area Keywords

Afghanistan, Al-Qaida, Islamic culture and politics, Pakistan, Radicalization, Taliban


Following the devastating terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001,worldwide attention became focused on the Taliban and al-Qaida forcesin Afghanistan. Prior to the attacks, many people had never heard of the Taliban or their shar'ia-law style of government. Since 2001, manysplinter groups have formed in response to the continual United Statespresence in the region. Today, the term Taliban has been used to envelop several groups such as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Haqqani Network (HQN) and the Tehrik-eNifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi(TNSM). These groups make up the majority of fighters along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Many of these groups have been historicrivals for control of the region, but have since joined a loose alliance in response to United States and Pakistani Government actions in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). This article examines the origins and operations of the Pakistani Taliban and associated groups. Particular attention will be given as to how these groups receive funding and support from each other through state sponsors such as Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency and non-state sponsors such as al-Qaida and Wahhabi idealists in Saudi Arabia, as well as arms supplies from Iran and potentially China.