A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Special Edition: New data on foreign fighters

New data explores foreign fighters from the United States


A new report from START examines data on foreign fighters who have departed for overseas conflicts from more than 100 cities in 25 states across the United States, from 1980 to 2015. START's Profiles of Radicalization in the United States-Foreign Fighters (PIRUS-FF) database includes information on 242 individuals who have been publicly identified in open sources as having left, attempted to leave, or expressed an interest in leaving the United States for the purpose of supporting the activities or interests of a foreign non-state armed group or foreign regime, and were motivated by religion, ethnicity, or other ideology. PIRUS-FF contains over 100 variables on all phases - pretravel, travel, and return - of the foreign fighter life cycle.

The report, a series of info graphics, from START examines those variables, highlighting topics including:

  • Foreign fighter “hot spots”
  • Associated militant groups
  • Success rates and plot outcomes
  • Radicalization and internet usage
  • Comparison between al-Qaida and ISIL foreign fighters
  • Relationships with facilitators and foreign groups
View the report on START's website at:

For news media requests about the data, contact Jessica Rivinius at 301-405-6632 orrivinius@start.umd.edu.


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The START Consortium is dedicated to generating knowledge of the human causes and consequences of terrorism. Applying rigorous standards to both research and education, START seeks to illuminate one of the most highly politicized and understudied phenomena in the social sciences for students, practitioners and policy-makers. Funded primarily through research grants to date, START is seeking to generate an endowment that will provide the flexibility and autonomy to ensure that it can continue to serve as an objective source of data and empirically based analysis into the future.  To donate, or for more information, please click here.