In Pakistan, hybrid organizations that include both political extremist and criminal elements pose more threat of smuggling radiological/nuclear (RN) weapons than organizations that are purely criminal, according to recent study by researchers from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).
After using open sources to identify nearly 70 criminal organizations operating in Pakistan during the 2009-2012 time period, the research team built qualitative profiles for 11 of the most significant groups based on the size and scale of their operations and/or influence in specific criminal markets. The groups selected were the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), People's Aman Committee (PAC), Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LEJ), Lashkar-e Taiba (LET), the Haqqani Network, D Company, the Dons of Lahore, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islamic (HuJI), the Imam Bheel Bizenjo Network, the Quetta Alliance and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).
The team - Dr. Amy Pate, Mila Johns, Gary Ackerman and McKenzie O'Brien - then assessed the organizations in terms of the threats they posed across various domains: RN smuggling, RN smuggling with extremist organization involvement, nexus formation and instability threat. The researchers then performed social network analyses for each profiled criminal organization, highlighting the existence and significance of linkages between important actors in the region.
The aggregated findings of the threat assessments and the social network analysis identify TTP and the Haqqani Network as the most critical organizations for which intervention strategies should be identified, evaluated and implemented. The team also concluded that additional strategies are needed to address hybrid organizations as they have higher motivations for engaging in RN smuggling and for creating an atmosphere of political instability.
The full analysis and assessment is detailed in "The Threat of Pakistani Criminal Organizations: Assessing the Potential for Involvement in Radiological/Nuclear Smuggling, Collaboration with Terrorist Groups, and the Potential to Destabilize the Pakistani State."
The article also describes the Criminal Organization Threat Assessment Tool (COTAT), which the team used to address threat assessments of the four different behaviors.
The article is published as Chapter 7 within the white paper "The 'New' Face of Transnational Crime Organizations (TCOs): A Geopolitical Perspective and Implications to U.S. National Security," made available through the Homeland Security Digital Library at https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=733208.