Global Jihadism

Program researchers have tracked the evolution and expansion of the jihadist movement across the globe for years. Our team uses a variety of methods to keep up with the shifting global jihadist landscape, drawing on field work, interviews, primary source documents, data collection and analysis, and more. Browse recent news & publications, project pages, and a full archive of related content below to learn more.



Recent News & Publications






The Global-Local Jihadist Nexus project draws on a global network of subject matter experts and locally based researchers to monitor Islamic State and al-Qaida affiliates across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, as well as their support and enabling networks across the West. We regularly publish reports and analysis through our platform, Nexus. These pieces analyze the interplay of several pairs of forces that have the potential to drive or constrain the global Islamic State and Al-Qaida nexus, including: global and local contexts, ideological and pragmatic drivers, individual and group appeals, leader-inspired and organizationally-enabled change, foreign influence versus local interest, and more.


Mosul and the Islamic State

When the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or Daesh) captured Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul in 2014, it heralded a period of unimaginable terror and destruction. A young man named Omar, writing under the penname of ‘Mosul Eye’, secretly reported from the besieged city unveiling to the world apocalyptic scenes as militants desperately searched for him. For the first time, Mosul and the Islamic State tells the untold stories from inside the Islamic State’s reign of terror over this ancient city, the pursuit of justice in its aftermath, and the enduring struggle of its people for a better future.


The ISIS Files

In 2018, The New York Times and the George Washington University announced an exclusive partnership to digitize, translate, analyze, and publish over 15,000 pages of internal files obtained from ISIS's former so-called "caliphate". The ISIS Files provide a unique snapshot of some aspects of how the group thought about certain issues and functioned in certain fields. But this information acquires significantly increased value when properly analyzed and contextualized. For this reason, each batch of The ISIS Files documents will be released along with a research study that will focus on the same topic. These studies analyze and contextualize The ISIS Files on the specific topic, combining them with what is already known about the topic from other sources.


Browse All Related Content


"Generation Killed: The Challenges of Routinizing Global Jihad" Authored by Haroro Ingram and Craig Whiteside | War on the Rocks | August 18, 2022.

ISIS's Leadership Crisis: A Vacancy at the Top Threatens the Group's Global Operations
Authored by Haroro Ingram and Craig Whiteside | Foreign Affairs | February 3, 2022

Islamic State leader killed in US raid – where does this leave the terrorist group?
Authored by Haroro Ingram, Amira Jadoon, and Andrew Mines | The Conversation | February 3, 2022. 

Thousands of men, women and children remain in detention because of their former ties to ISIS
Authored by Devorah Margolin and Austin Doctor | Washington Post | February 2, 2022

The Islamic State Threat in Taliban Afghanistan: Tracing the Resurgence of the Islamic State Khorasan
Authored by Amira Jadoon, Abdul Sayed, and Andrew Mines | CTC Sentinel | January 27, 2022

The Taliban Haven’t Changed, But U.S. Policy Must
Authored by Haroro J. Ingram, Andrew Mines, and Omar Mohammed | Lawfare | October 31, 2021

The Taliban Can't Take on the Islamic State Alone
Authored by Amira Jadoon and Andrew Mines | War on the Rocks | October 14, 2021

 The evolving Taliban-ISK rivalry
Authored by Amira Jadoon, Andrew Mines, and Abdul Sayed | The Lowy Institute | September 7, 2021

History’s rhymes in the fall of Kabul and Mosul: Flawed ideas, broken promises, and poisonous spin
Authored by Haroro J. Ingram and Omar Mohammed | ICCT | September 2, 2021

What is ISIS-K? Two terrorism experts on the group behind the deadly Kabul airport attack and its rivalry with the Taliban
Authored by Amira Jadoon and Andrew Mines | The Conversation | August 26, 2021

 American counterterrorism cannot be an either/or proposition
Authored by Lorenzo Vidino and Seamus Hughes | The Hill | May 25, 2021

The Islamic State Is in Congo. What Now?
Authored by Haroro J. Ingram and Lorenzo Vidino | Lawfare | May 16, 2021

The Routinization of the Islamic State’s Global Enterprise

Authored by Haroro Ingram, Craig Whiteside, and Charlie Winter | Hudson Institute | April 1, 2021

Stigma, Shame and Fear: Navigating Obstacles to Peace in Mindanao
Authored by Haroro Ingram | Resolve Network | March 4, 2021

Smaller and Smarter: Defining a Narrower U.S. Counterterrorism Mission in the Afghanistan-Pakistan Region

Authored by Amira Jadoon, Andrew Mines, and Abdul Sayed | Newlines Institute | February 11, 2021

 The Head of ISIS is a Hypocrite and a Traitor

Authored by Haroro Ingram and Omar Mohammed | Foreign Policy | November 19, 2020

Preempting the Storm: DOJ Moves to Tackle Terrorist and Criminal Use of Cryptocurrencies with Bolder International Approach

Authored by Andrew Mines | GNET | November 11, 2020

 Exposing Terror, Building Resilience: Harnessing Citizen Journalists and Social Media to Confront Terrorism

Authored by Omar Mohammed | GNET | September 29, 2020

Balancing Online Content Moderation and the Rule of Law

Authored by Devorah Margolin, Jon Lewis, and Andrew Mines | GNET | September 4, 2020

Cryptocurrency and the Dismantling of Terrorism Financing Campaigns
Authored by Andrew Mines and Devorah Margolin | Lawfare | August 26, 2020

Revamping American "Soft Power": The Case for Centralizing America's Messages to the World
Authored by Haroro J. Ingram and Alexander Guittard | Foreign Policy Research Institute | July 20, 2020

 #Hamas: Using Twitter to Gain Legitimacy or Incite Violence? 
Authored by Devorah Margolin | GNET | July 6, 2020

#Hamas: A Thematic Exploration of Hamas’s English-Language Twitter 
Authored by Devorah Margolin | Terrorism and Political Violence | June 23, 2020

Pandemic Propaganda and the Global Democracy Crisis
Authored by Haroro J. Ingram | War on the Rocks | May 18, 2020

Can the Islamic State's Afghan Province Survive Its Leadership Losses?
Authored by Andrew Mines and Amira Jadoon | Lawfare | May 17, 2020

5G and the Far Right: How Extremists Capitalise on Coronavirus Conspiracies
Authored by Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens and Blyth Crawford | GNET | April 21, 2020

Telegram’s Cryptocurrency Could Have a Terrorism Problem
Authored by Andrew Mines | Just Security | March 5, 2020

“Breaking the Walls” Goes Global: The Evolving Threat of Jihadi Prison Assaults and Riots

Authored by Bennett Clifford and Caleb Weiss | CTC Sentinel | February 27, 2020

Lessons from the Islamic State’s ‘Milestone’ Texts and Speeches
Authored by Haroro J. Ingram, Craig Whiteside, and Charlie Winter | CTC Sentinel | January 2020

Caliph Abu Unknown: Succession and the Legitimacy in the Islamic State
Authored by Haroro Ingram and Craig Whiteside | War on the Rocks | November 25, 2019

The Fractured Terrorism Threat to America
Authored by Seamus Hughes and Devorah Margolin | Lawfare | November 10, 2019

In Syria, the Women and Children of ISIS Have Been Forgotten
Authored by Devorah Margolin, Joana Cook, and Charlie Winter | Foreign Policy | October 26, 2019

Islamic State Affiliate Seeks to Expand in Afghanistan
Authored by Andrew Mines and Amira Jadoon | Lawfare | October 23, 2019

When Pain is Thicker Than Blood: Surviving Scourge and Purifying the Ranks
Authored by Asaad Almohammad and Jon Lewis | Foreign Policy Research Institute | September 26, 2019

Taking Aim: Islamic State Khorasan's Leadership Losses
Authored by Amira Jadoon and Andrew Mines | CTC Sentinel | September 2019

De-Platforming and the Online Extremist’s Dilemma
Authored by Bennett Clifford and Helen Christy Powell | Lawfare | June 6, 2019

The Guerrilla ‘Caliph’: Speeches that Bookend the Islamic State’s ‘Caliphate’ Era
Authored by Haroro J. Ingram, Craig Whiteside, and Charlie Winter | CTC Sentinel | May 29, 2019

Doxing and Defacements: Examining the Islamic State’s Hacking Capabilities
Authored by Audrey Alexander and Bennett Clifford | CTC Sentinel | April 26, 2019

Destination Jihad: Italy’s Foreign Fighters
Authored by Francesco Marone and Lorenzo Vidino | ICCT | March 19, 2019

A Practical Guide to the First Rule of CTCVE
Authored by Alastair G. Reed and Haroro J. Ingram | ICCT | March 18, 2019

Jihadist ‘Responsibility to Protect’ Appeals: Propaganda Wars for the Moral High Ground
Authored by Haroro J. Ingram | ICCT | March 14, 2019

Do Great Nations Fight Endless Wars? Against the Islamic State, They Might
Authored by Haroro J. Ingram and Craig Whiteside | War on the Rocks | February 25, 2019

Strasbourg shooting: Why known extremists can carry out terror attacks
Authored by Lorenzo Vidino | BBC News | December 15, 2018

United States v. Aws Mohammed Younis al-Jayab: A Case Study on Transnational Prosecutions of Jihadi Foreign Fighter Networks
Authored by Seamus Hughes and Bennett Clifford | CTC Sentinel | December 14, 2018

The Caliph's Role in the (un)Surprising Resilience of the Islamic State
Authored by Haroro J. Ingram and Craig Whiteside | Foreign Policy Research Institute | October 25, 2018

Treatment of Terrorists: How Does Gender Affect Justice?
Authored by Audrey Alexander | CTC Sentinel | September 10, 2018

Prosecuting the Islamic State Fighters Left Behind
Authored by Jenna Consigli | Lawfare | August 1, 2018

A Brief Update on Ethnic Georgian Foreign Fighters in the Islamic State
Authored by Bennett Clifford | Jihadology | July 31, 2018 

The Cup and the Caliphate: Russia’s Counterterrorism Operations Before Major Sporting Events and the Global Jihadist Movement
Authored by Bennett Clifford | Lawfare | June 22, 2018

“That is what the terrorists want”: Media as amplifier or disrupter of violent extremist propaganda
Authored by Haroro J. Ingram | ICCT | May 22, 2018

Gray Media Under the Black and White Banner
Authored by Audrey Alexander and Helen Christy Powell | Lawfare | May 6, 2018

“Trucks, Knives, Bombs, Whatever:” Exploring Pro-Islamic State Instructional Material on Telegram
Authored by Bennett Clifford | CTC Sentinel | May 2018

Whose Responsibility is it to Confront Terrorism Online?
Authored by Seamus Hughes | Lawfare | April 27, 2018

Reverse-Engineering The ISIS Playbook, Part II: CT-CVE Messaging Lessons From ISIS's English-Language Magazines
Authored by Haroro J. Ingram and Alastair Reed | Vox Pol | April 18, 2018

Reverse-Engineering The ISIS Playbook, Part I: CT-CVE Messaging Lessons From ISIS's English-Language Magazines
Authored by Haroro J. Ingram and Alastair Reed | Vox Pol | April 13, 2018

Hyperlinked Sympathizers: URLs and the Islamic State
Authored by Samantha Weirman and Audrey Alexander | Studies in Conflict & Terrorism | March 26, 2018

Terror Online And Off: Recent Trends in Islamic State Propaganda Operations
Authored by Charlie Winter and Haroro J. Ingram | War on the Rocks | March 2, 2018

Marginalizing Violent Extremism Online
Authored by Audrey Alexander and William Braniff | The Atlantic | January 21, 2018

How to fight ISIS online
Authored by Audrey Alexander | Foreign Affairs | April 7, 2017

The Threat to the United States from the Islamic State’s Virtual Entrepreneurs
Authored by Seamus Hughes and Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens | CTC Sentinel | March 9, 2017

The Islamic State's Pyramid Scheme: Egyptian Expansion and the Giza Governorate Cell
Authored by Mokhtar Awad | CTC Sentinel | April 2016

Egypt's New Radicalism: The Muslim Brotherhood and Jihad
Authored by Mokhtar Awad | Foreign Affairs | February 4, 2016

Articles and Reports

Create, Connect, Deceive: Islamic State Supporters' Maintenance of the Virtual Caliphate Through Adaptation and Innovation

Authored by Meili Criezis | September 2022

Islamist Homophobia in the West: From Rhetoric to Violence

Authored by Lorenzo Vidino and Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens | September 2022

Examining Online Migration to Terrorist and Violent Extremist-Owned Domains

Authored by Arthur Bradley and Deeba Shadnia, Tech Against Terrorism | July 2022

Rise of the Reactionaries: Comparing The Ideologies of Salafi-Jihadism and White Supremacist Extremism

Authored by Asaad Almohammad | November 2019

The Architects of Salvation: How IS Foreign Fighter Recruitment Hubs Emerged in Tunisia
Nate Rosenblatt | September 2019

A Plan for Preventing and Countering Terrorist and Violent Extremist Exploitation of Information and Communications Technology in America
Audrey Alexander | September 2019

Leveraging CDA 230 to Counter Online Extremism
Annemarie Bridy | September 2019

Three Constitutional Thickets
Daphne Keller | September 2019

Counterterrorism is a Public Function
Alexander Guittard | September 2019

Lessons from the Information War
J.D. Maddox | September 2019

Social Media, Terrorist Content Prohibitions and the Rule of Law
Stuart Macdonald | September 2019

EU Policy: Preventing the Dissemination of Terrorist Content Online
Jordy Krasenberg | September 2019

Disinformation in Terrorist Content Online
Nina Jankowicz | September 2019

Unraveling the Impact of Social Media on Extremism
Anjana Susarla | September 2019

Fighting Hate Speech and Terrorist Propaganda on Social Media in Germany
Alexander Ritzmann | September 2019

The Internet Police
Jeff Breinholt | September 2019

Perspectives on the Future of Women, Gender, & Violent Extremism
(February 2019)

Full Series
Edited by Audrey Alexander

Introduction to the Series

Negating Stereotypes: Women, Gender, and Terrorism in Indonesia and Pakistan
Sara Mahmood

Not Just Victims: Women in Terrorism from the Western Balkans
Vesë Kelmendi

How Women Advance the Internationalization of the Far Right
Julia Ebner and Jacob Davey

The Changing Roles of Women in Violent Islamist Groups
Devorah Margolin

Key Considerations: Forward Thinking about Women, Gender, and Violent Extremism

Islamic State's Re-organization in Libya and Potential Connections with Illegal Trafficking
Arturo Varvelli | November 2017

Jihadism in the Spanish Language After the Barcelona Attack
Manuel Torres-Soriano | August 2017

What Causes Extremist Attitudes Among Sunni and Shia Youth? Evidence from Northern India
Kunaal Sharma | November 2016

Nazis vs. ISIS on Twitter: A Comparative Study of White Nationalist and ISIS Online Social Media Networks
J.M. Berger | September 2016

Hisba in Mosul: Systematic Oppression in the Name of Virtue
Rasha Al Aqeedi | February 2016

The Islamic State’s Diminishing Returns on Twitter: How Suspensions are Limiting the Social Networks of English-speaking ISIS Supporters
J.M. Berger and Heather Perez | February 2016

Books and Book Chapters

Edited by Anthony Richards, Devorah Margolin, and Nicolò Scremin | August 2019


Please direct all data inquiries to [email protected]

Media Coverage

"Biden said the killed ISIS leader persecuted Yazidis. Here’s what to know about the religious minority" | Washington Post | February 4, 2022

"The death of the head of ISIS: what is the impact for Daesh?" | La Presse | February 4, 2022

"Biden: Islamic State leader killed in U.S. counterterrorism raid in Syria" | NY1 | February 3, 2022

"Allison Fluke-Ekren is a rarity to experts: a woman alleged to have a senior role in ISIS" | USA Today | February 2, 2022

"American woman charged with supporting ISIS" | Good Morning America | January 31, 2022

"Kansas mother charged with leading all-female ISIS battalion" | CBS News | January 31, 2022

"Former Kansas teacher is accused of leading all-female ISIS brigade" | Washington Post | January 29, 2022

Rubble to Restoration: Rebuilding Mosul” | CNN | 11/12/2021

What is the Islamic State in Afghanistan?” | VOA News | 11/4/2021

Taliban Wages Deadly Crackdown On Afghan Salafists As War With IS-K Intensifies” | RFE/RL | 10/22/2021

A Kandahar mosque attack exposes the Taliban's security challenges” | NPR | 10/15/2021

Intensifying Violence Between Taliban, IS-K Heralds New War In Afghanistan” | RFE/RL | 10/13/2021

EXPLAINER: Can the Taliban suppress the potent IS threat?” | AP News | 10/12/2021

US Remains Focused on Fighting ISIS-K in Afghanistan” | CBS News | 9/2/2021

ISIS-K and Other Militant Groups in Afghanistan” | C-SPAN | 9/2/2021

“ISIS-K in Afghanistan” | Bloomberg Radio | 9/1/2021 | Live Radio

What is ISIS-K, the group behind the Kabul attack?” | Newsy | 9/1/2021

“ISIS-K's Fight against the Taliban” | KFI AM 640 | 8/30/2021 | Live Radio

IS-K claims responsibility for attack on Kabul airport” | i24 News | 8/30/2021

What is ISIS-K?” | CHQR | 8/30/2021

What Is ISIS-K?” | NPR | 8/30/2021

What is ISIS-K, the group that killed 13 U.S. service members and at least 170 civilians in Afghanistan?” | Yahoo News | 8/30/2021

“What is ISIS-K in Afghanistan?” | BBC News Channel | 8/28/2021 | Live TV

As It Happens: The Friday Edition” | CBC As it Happens | 8/27/2021

Taliban rival ISIS-K claims responsibility for Kabul suicide bombing” | KCBS | 8/27/2021

Kabul airport bombing underscores Taliban’s challenges in securing a volatile Afghanistan” | Washington Post | 8/27/2021

ISIS-K, explained by an expert” | Vox | 8/27/2021

Kabul airport bombing underscores Taliban’s challenges in securing a volatile Afghanistan” | Washington Post | 8/27/2021

Blasts set to trigger new terror attacks” | The Australian | 8/26/2021

The Taliban shows off its new propaganda savvy with photo recreating an iconic moment for US Marines” | Business Insider | 8/26/2021

EXPLAINER: How social platforms are dealing with the Taliban” | AP News | 8/26/2021

ICC prosecutor praises pursuit of justice in Mosul” | The National | 7/21/2021

UN Warns Too Few Islamic State Women Are Facing Justice” | VOA News | 7/22/2020

What Was ISIS’s Real Estate Market Like? GW University Releases “The ISIS Files”” | National Interest / Yahoo | 6/29/2020

Islamic State, Taliban, al Qaeda, Boko Haram jihadists see coronavirus as call to duty” | Washington Times | 3/26/2020

U.S. Struggles to Keep Allies in Fight Against ISIS in Syria” | New York Times | 11/13/2019

Supporters Begin Flocking to New Islamic State Leader” | VOA News | 10/31/2019

ISIS Names New Leader and Confirms al-Baghdadi’s Death” | New York Times | 10/31/2019

Tech fight against online extremism gets overhaul” | The Hill | 9/26/2019

Thousands of ISIS Children Suffer in Camps as Countries Grapple With Their Fate” | New York Times | 5/8/2019

In ISIS leader’s video appearance, messages to followers, rivals and the West” | Washington Post | 5/2/2019

Women take to the front line as desperate Isil fights to the end” | Telegraph | 3/22/2019

Islamic State on brink of defeat as Western-backed forces corner fighters on river bank” | Telegraph | 3/19/2019

Islamic State wives want to come home. But what were they doing while they were away?” | LA Times | 3/5/2019

European Leaders Reluctant To Meet Trump's Demands To Take Back Captive ISIS Fighters” | NPR | 2/18/2019


Allies Under Attack: The Terrorist Threat to Europe
Written Testimony of Seamus Hughes
Deputy Director, Program on Extremism

Before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee
June 27, 2017

Beyond Iraq and Syria: ISIS' Global Reach
Written Testimony of Lorenzo Vidino
Director, Program on Extremism

Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
June 8, 2017

Countering the Virtual Caliphate
Written Testimony of Seamus Hughes
Deputy Director, Program on Extremism

Before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee
June 23, 2016

Egypt: Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Policy
Written Testimony of Mokhtar Awad
Research Fellow, Program on Extremism

Before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa
June 15, 2016