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Global Terrorism Trends 2018 – US State Department Report

Published Nov 08, 2019
Updated Feb 06, 2020

The main geographies that were impacted by terrorism in 2018 were Middle East, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Afghanistan, Pakistan and India remained considerably impacted by terrorist violence in 2018 as per the Report despite progress made in neutralising the groups active in the region.

US Country Report on Terrorism which is submitted in compliance with Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f (the “Act”), which requires the Department of State to provide to Congress a full and complete annual report on terrorism for those countries and groups meeting the criteria of the Act has indicated the overall state of terrorism globally is a matter of concern

In 2018, terrorist incidents occurred in 84 countries and territories. About 85 percent of all incidents were concentrated in three geographic regions: the Middle East, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.

In order, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, India, Nigeria, Somalia, Philippines, Pakistan, Yemen, and Cameroon experienced the greatest number of terrorist incidents in 2018. Incidents in these 10 countries accounted for 71 percent of the overall total number of incidents and 81 percent of all fatalities from terrorist incidents.

In 2018, there were 8,093 terrorist incidents resulting in 32,836 fatalities. The number of fatalities per incident was 4.58 per incident in 2018. In 2018 there were 901 terrorist incidents with more than 10 fatalities.

Afghanistan had the largest number of fatalities attributable to terrorism in 2018, and the Taliban was responsible for 83 percent of them.

For the purposes of this report, attacks attributed to the Taliban are also inclusive of attacks committed by the Haqqani Network. Among other global perpetrators, the Taliban was responsible for the largest number of incidents and casualties (persons killed or injured), followed by ISIS and al-Shabaab.

The Taliban was responsible for 8,509 deaths and 4,943 injuries, about 25 percent of the total casualties attributed to terrorism globally in 2018. With 647 terrorist attacks, ISIS was the next-most-active terrorist organization, responsible for 3,585 fatalities and 1,761 injuries. Having conducted 535 attacks, al-Shabaab was responsible for 2,062 deaths and 1,278 injuries. Boko Haram was among the top-five terrorist perpetrators, with 220 incidents, 1,311 deaths, and 927 injuries. It should be noted that local sources do not always differentiate between Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa.

In 2018, ISIS lost most of the remaining territory of its so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria; however, the group and its affiliates remained active in 26 countries. The most active ISIS affiliates were:

GTTAC defines an “affiliated group” as pledging allegiance, declaring loyalty, breaking away from the group but still linked, by finance, communications, technical, HR, or being a splinter/offshoot organization.” AFFILIATES GTTAC defines an affiliated group as “pledging allegiance, declaring loyalty, breaking away from the group but still linked, by finance, communications, technical, HR, or being a splinter/offshoot organization.”

  • The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria-ISIS (647 incidents, 3,585 deaths) in Iraq, Syria, and YemenISIS-Khorasan (110 incidents, 1,324 deaths) in Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • ISIS-West Africa (22 incidents, 160 deaths) in Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, and the Lake Chad Basin
  • ISIS-Sinai province (56 incidents, 485 deaths) in Egypt
  • ISIS-Philippines (52 incidents, 150 deaths) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (62 incidents, 121 deaths) in the Philippines
  • ISIS-Greater Sahara (18 incidents, 79 deaths) in Mali and Burkina Faso
  • JamaahAnsharutDaulah (16 incidents, 41 deaths) in Indonesia

Al-Qa’ida networks continue to operate in 15 countries concentrated in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. Some of the major al-Qa’ida affiliate groups are

  • Al-Shabaab (534 incidents, 2,098 deaths) in Somalia and Kenya
  • Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (117 incidents, 177 deaths) in Syria
  • Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (57 incidents, 129 deaths) in India and Pakistan
  • Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (30 incidents, 131 deaths) in Yemen
  • Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam Wal-Muslimin (26 incidents, 121 deaths) in Mali and Burkina Faso

Incidents with the highest fatality rates in 2018 include the following:

  • On January 27, in Afghanistan, a Taliban suicide bomber detonated an ambulance bomb, killing 95 persons and wounding 158 others in a government-controlled zone of the city.
  • On May 15, in Farah City, Afghanistan, a Taliban raid killed 330 people.
  • On May 16, in Afghanistan, a complex Taliban operation killed more than 180 people.
  • On July 13, in Mastung, Pakistan, an ISIS-K suicide bomber killed 128 persons and injured 150 during an election rally.
  • On July 25, ISIS militants carried out a complex coordinated attack in Syria that killed 290 people.
  • On August 2, in al-Hudaydah, Yemen, militants killed 55 civilians.

On August 10, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, the Taliban killed 190 people during an operation.

On November 18, in Borno state, Nigeria, ISIS-WA attacked a military base in the town of Metele, killing at least 118 soldiers, while at least 153 others were missing after the attack. The militants also seized tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, weapons, and ammunition.

The Report is as indicated in the US State Department website for information and analysis please, Security Risks Asia has not verified the same and is not responsible for the details or analysis therein.