FARC international network sophisticated

Sept. 23, 2008 at 6:02 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- The size of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia international terrorist network has been underestimated, according to a NEFA Foundation report.

The NEFA Foundation, a non-profit terrorism research and analysis organization, says the FARC has a substantial and sophisticated international network.

The report suggests that despite the FARC's recent setbacks at the hands of a strengthened Colombian police agency, including the killing of leader Raul Reyes in March and the release of 15 high-value hostages in July, the terrorist group has a surprisingly large network.

According to the report's author, Douglas Farah, the FARC has managed to network with state actors in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ecuador and non-state groups in Europe including Basque separatist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna in Spain and the Provisional Irish Republican Army in Ireland, among other players.

Officials say the report's findings come from the confiscated computer of Reyes and recent interviews.

"The size and sophistication of the FARC international network was one of the biggest surprises of FARC documents that have been captured," Farah wrote for the Counterterrorism Blog.

"It had long been assumed that ... the group ... was a relatively isolated entity. That, however, is not true."

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