Whether by carbomb or hijacked airplane, why terrorist groups carry out suicide attacks, or attacks that necessitate the death of their perpetrators, remains puzzling to counterterrorism experts. These attacks require bombmaking expertise and strenuous effort to plan. The necessary death of a trustworthy operative puts up added moral and public relations barriers.
Still, many terrorist organizations have shown not only a willingness to use, but also an affinity for suicide attacks. I critique existing theories by examining why many organizations opt against using the tactic and the case study of the Tamil Tigers. I find support for the explanation that a “culture of martyrdom” encourages terrorist groups to employ suicide attacks.
Source: Georgetown Public Policy Review