The same question was asked by a BBC correspondent to an Arab world journalist. His answer was "Terrorists want Saudi to be solely Islamic, without any intervention from the US or any other European nations". I do not know if this is a valid enough reason to kill people in different parts of the world. I am also not sure if any terrorist has stated it clearly.
Then our conversation to a logical turn to Iraq. The insurgents and the suicide bombers there are terrorists. They are blowing themselves and killing others along with them. When we Indians fought for our independence, there was a group of people who practiced violence. Bhagat Singh threw bombs at the Britishers and tried to kill them. The trend was not to be a suicide bombers then. If the word terrorist was so rampant in those days then Bhagat Singh would have been a terrorist. General Dyer shot many peacefully protesting, unarmed Indians in Jalianwallah Bagh in 1919. That could also be termed as an act of terrorism. When South Africa's ANC fought against apartheid under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, many of their leaders were termed as terrorists and were not allowed to enter some nations like USA. One such person is the supreme judge in South Africa today. People like Bhagat Singh are martyrs today. There could come a day when these suicide bombers and terrorists are also treated as martyrs. The world is changing so fast, a friend today can be a foe tomorrow and viceversa. Saddam is the live example. Having said this I still say that Bhagat Singh is a martyr. He bombed and expressed freely why he bombed the places. He was daring enough to face a trial and tell what he wanted and why. He did not play games like suicide bombings and he did not kill commin people\children on the street. But these dirty games seem to be neo-terrorism. The concept of 'Terrorism' has changed over a period of time and will continue to change.
I got a mail today regarding the Ayodhya attack, which could explain what today's terrorists want. They want UNREST.
The chief of the terrorist militant outfit that had tried to storm the temple laughed mirthlessly as he switched on the TV and watched the bodies of his comrades being dragged by CRPF jawans into a waiting police jeep.
"You are laughing sir? Those are our men!" said his puzzled assistant as he watched his dead colleagues being thrown like cattle into the jeep.
"Mission successful!" laughed the chief.
"Sir the mission was a failure," said his still puzzled assistant. "Our men are dead and they did not manage to bomb the temple!"
"Mission successful!" grinned the bearded terrorist chief.
The assistant ran out into the corridor and whispered what his leader had said to the men outside. They were hardened terrorists, who brooked no nonsense, whether it was their leader or not. They all entered the room and watched the coverage on TV. There was an air of despondency. They could not understand their chief's joy.
"Sir," said a subordinate.
"Yes?" smiled the chief.
"You seem to be happy our men are dead?"
"They have accomplished what they went for," said the chief, "I am happy their mission was successful!"
"Sir their mission was a failure."
"My dear men," said their leader as he looked at each one of them, "What do you think was our aim?"
"To destroy the temple," said one of the militants.
"No," said their leader.
"No?" asked all the militants together.
"Our aim," said the chief is to sow anger and hatred in the country with our action. By blowing up the temple we hoped there would be spontaneous riots and bloodshed and anarchy."
"Which there isn't," said a militant.
"Not spontaneous!" said the chief, "but organised. See what the papers are already saying."
"Bandh!" said one of the terrorists."
"Bandh!" shouted the others.
"When the politicians call a bandh they have reacted to us," said the chief. "When a country doesn't react to us, then our mission is a failure. Now our mission is successful. The whole of the country will shut down because of what six men did. Billions of rupees will be lost because of what our brave brothers did. Can you imagine we have such power. Just six men to shut a country down!"
"Ha, ha, ha," laughed the terrorists, "Ha, ha, ha!"
"If India had gone about her business behaving as if nothing had happened, then our mission would have been a failure, but they have an opposition who are waiting to create trouble. We don't have to do much really; we just have to ignite a spark; those fellows will do the rest!"
The militants and their leaders watched the TV channels as politician after politician talked about the bandh they were going to carry out.
"Mission successful..!" shouted the terrorists as they raised their guns in salute.
"Ha, ha, ha, ha..!" laughed their chief with glee.