Obama rolls the dice with killing of Taliban chief
Foreign Policy - 05/23/2016
That dynamic correlates with research done by terrorism analyst Max Abrahms of Northeastern University, who has not found a significant reduction in violence following the targeting of militant chiefs in most cases.
“I’ve found that decapitation strikes can be counterproductive because the successor is not more moderate,” Abrahms said. “In fact, just the opposite is true, and the replacement is actually more extreme.”
He pointed to two studies he conducted in 2015 looking at the behavior of militant groups around the world in the aftermath of a decapitation. The studies find that the groups become more extreme and tend to increase their attacks on civilian populations.