Religion, ethnicity, social organizations and terrorists’ behavior – a case of Taliban movement in Pakistan

Muhammad Feyyaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Religion and ethnicity is widely associated with the unrelenting Taliban-led violence in Pakistan. Their shari'a rhetoric coupled with a sympathetic politico-religious constituency compounds the terrorism landscape for the general audience. Besides, less academic treatment of the phenomenon entailing analysis of its wholesome dimensions further constrains its understanding. Conceding the fact that religion pervades all aspects of contemporary conflict, this article argues that the present setting is neither rooted in the ethnicity nor in the religion literally as the conflict formation variables; it is instead governed since its inception by dynamics germinating from Pakhtunwali (a social code of conduct of tribal Pashtun), mainly its retributive imperative. It specifically investigates the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan's rent seeking, greed and hypocritical behavior, which, it contends, lies in the selective perversion of Pakhtunwali permeated also by the nuanced influence of foreign fighters. The peace advocates’ claim for potential success in dialog with Taliban is therefore considered as misleading. Drawing upon an adapted theoretical framework, the article attempts to empirically demonstrate the viability of these assertions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-134
JournalBehavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 03 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


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