Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Political Science

Document Type



Recent analyses of terrorist groups reveal their dependency on complex logistical, financial, and operational relationships with other groups. Advantaged by the technological advancements of the last two decades, many terrorist and criminal organizations are now linked through complicated networks. Therefore, experts dedicated to uncovering and unraveling terrorist strategy, can easily get lost in the scattered patterns of today’s terrorism. A web-like structure allows for flexible, though well-connected leadership, and widespread recruitment opportunity. One recent terrorist group that has benefited from network organization is the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). The IMU was a formidable group because of its experienced and charismatic leadership and significant fund raising abilities made possible by various criminal ties. A case study of the rise and fall of the IMU will help to reveal the multifaceted structure of networked terrorism, particularly in Central Asia and along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border region. Understanding a group’s ties helps in assessing its true motivations. The IMU was often characterized as a purely militant Islamic group, when its ties to the drug trade were far stronger. This study questions the former classification and as a result is useful in assessing other groups in the region with criminal ties.


Defense and Security Studies | International Relations | Peace and Conflict Studies