An investigation into microcycles of violence by the Taliban
This study investigated the notion of near-repeat victimisation in the context of the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. Applying methods originally developed for epidemiological research the current study found strong evidence that attacks by the Taliban insurgency occurred in microcycles of localised bursts of terrorist events. Nearly 40% of the 305 attacks analysed by the Taliban in 2016 took place within 5 miles and 2 weeks of each other. A binary logistic regression showed that, compared to other strategies, attacks were more likely to occur in microcycles when they were on national or provincial capitals, non-fatal and included bombings or armed assaults. These findings are in accordance with previous research conducted in other countries, suggesting that globally, terrorist organisations face similar strategic options and constraints. The results have implications for the understanding of terrorist campaigns at a more disaggregated level, for the prediction of future attacks and for counter-terrorism strategies.
KeywordsMicrocycles of violence Taliban Afghanistan Counter-terrorism Insurgency
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