For the second year in a row, the total number of global deaths caused by terrorism has declined. The reduction in deaths is encouraging, but 2016 was also the third deadliest year since 2000.​

This is the Global Terrorism Index – a summary of global trends in terrorism from the last 17 years, produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace.

For the second year in a row, the total number of global deaths caused by terrorism has declined. The reduction in deaths is encouraging, but 2016 was still the third deadliest year since 2000.​

This is the Global Terrorism Index – a summary of global trends in terrorism from the last 17 years, produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace.

For the second year in a row, the total number of deaths caused by terrorism has declined. The reduction in deaths is encouraging, but despite this 2016 was the third deadliest year since 2000. While the intensity of terrorism in many countries has decreased, it continues to spread to an increasing number of countries.

This is the fifth release of the Global Terrorism Index, which provides a comprehensive summary of global trends in terrorism covering the last 17 years. This year, the average country score within the index deteriorated by 4% and reflects the increasing spread of terrorism. There were 77 countries that experienced deaths from terrorism, which is an increase from 65 the year before. Two thirds of all countries experienced a terrorist attack in 2016.

Two thirds of all countries experienced a terrorist attack in 2016. Click To Tweet

 

The most affected countries improve

Despite this, there are positive trends. Since 2014 there has been a 22% reduction in deaths from terrorism compared to the peak of terror activity in 2014, with 6,827 fewer people killed. Terrorism has fallen significantly in Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Nigeria recorded the biggest decrease in terrorism, with 3,100 fewer people killed compared to the previous year. This reflects both the success of the Multinational Joint Task Force against Boko Haram as well as fractures within the group.

 

Afghanistan also improved, with 14% fewer deaths compared to the previous year. This decline in deaths from terrorism reflects the Taliban’s engagement in more traditional conflict activities against the Afghan National Guard, focused on territorial gains rather than terrorist activity. Syria has seen the most dramatic increase in terrorism over the last decade with the increase coinciding with the start of the conflict in 2011. However, in 2016 it recorded the first reduction since 2011, with deaths from terrorism decreasing 24% from the previous year to 2,102.

Pakistan also recorded a decrease in the number of people killed by terrorism with a 12% reduction to 956 deaths. This is the lowest number of deaths since 2006, and reflects a slight decrease in the activity of Sindh in southeast Pakistan. The Khorasan Chapter of the Islamic State and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan placed greater focus on Afghanistan.

Terrorism in the OECD

In 2016, OECD countries experienced the most deaths from terrorism since the September 11 attacks in 2001. There has been a 67 % increase in attacks and a nearly 600% increase in deaths from terrorism since 2014. However, the index shows that a significant portion of these deaths resulted from a small number of attacks that inflicted very high casualties. Three attacks accounted for 44% of all deaths from terrorism in OECD countries between 2014 and June 2017.

ISIL has been driving this increase in deaths, but attacks attributed to the group appear to have peaked in 2016 with a notable decrease in the first six months of this year. A similar trend can been seen with ISIL inspired attacks. This apparent decline coincides with ISIL’s diminishing capacity following its territorial losses in Iraq and Syria. France has suffered from this rise in terrorism, and among OECD countries, the country has witnessed the highest number of fatalities over the last three years and accounts for 43% of all deaths. Terrorist attacks related to ISIL caused 92% of deaths in France.In 2016, OECD countries experienced the most deaths from terrorism since 09/11/01. Click To TweetSince the September 11 attacks, terrorism in the United States has remained relatively low although the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando resulted in 50 deaths. However, there has been a notable increase in attacks by lone actors, with the country suffering more of this type of attack than any other OECD country. Greater investment in counterterrorism by OECD nations is paying dividends, with more ISIL attacks being thwarted. In 2016, two out of three ISIL involved attacks were foiled compared to about 50% of ISIL inspired attacks.

The impact of ISIL

Three of the four deadliest terrorist groups – Boko Haram, the Taliban and al Qa’ida – all caused fewer fatalities in 2016. However, ISIL was an exception to this trend and was responsible for killing 9,132 people last year. If deaths attributed to ISIL affiliates are included, then ISIL actually caused the deaths of over 11,500 people. The majority of these deaths occurred in Iraq, where they are responsible for over 18,000 deaths between 2013 and 2016. To put this in perspective, 40% of these deaths occurred in 2016.

In 2016, the terrorist organisation’s activities affected 308 cities in 15 countries around the world, four more than the previous year. ISIL affiliated groups killed a further 2,417 people and undertook attacks in another 11 countries, although this is six less than the previous year. The group’s most devastating presence was in Iraq and Syria, which together accounted for over 93% of ISIL’s attacks. ISIL has primarily been responsible for driving an increase in deaths throughout developed countries, including a number of those in Europe. The group has successfully carried out attacks in 18 of the 33 OECD countries since 2014, which now accounts for three quarters of all deaths from terrorism.

Global outlook

Just five countries account for three quarters of all deaths from terrorism: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria and Pakistan. These same countries have been the most affected by terrorism every year since 2013. For the first time Turkey was one of the ten most affected countries, due to the increased activity of ISIL and the Kurdistan Worker’s Party.

Six of the ten most impacted countries were involved in internal conflict, which has facilitated and led to an increase in terrorism. With the exception of India, each of the ten countries has a single terrorist group that is responsible for the majority of deaths. Some countries, such as Yemen, have been impacted by events which have led to the rise of terrorist groups. In other countries, such as Libya and Syria, terrorism has followed the destabilisation of the government, while in others, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, terrorism has resulted from a foreign power invasion.Six of the ten countries most impacted by terrorism are involved in an internal conflict . Click To TweetThe index shows there is a strong statistical relationship between the intensity of a conflict and the impact of terrorism. Countries with the highest number of battle-related deaths such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen also have very high levels of terrorism. This correlation helps explain why the largest increase in the impact of terrorism occurred in the Middle East and North African region, yet the Central America and the Carribbean region has consistently had the lowest impact from terrorism since 2002.

Global Terrorism Index 2017 map

The Global Terrorism Index map below tells a stark story. The increase of terrorism over the last thirteen years, the top ten most impacted countries, and the rise and spread of of terrorism, moving from a focus on nations in conflict to the developed world. Click on a country to investigate the rankings, scores and indicators further.

Further information

The full report, a summary four-page snapshot that highlights the key trends and findings can be downloaded at visionofhumanity.org. Other digital assets include key charts and images that are available for sharing.

The GTI is produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) and is based on data from the Global Terrorism Database. Data for the GTD is collected and collated by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START); a Department of Homeland Security Centre of Excellence led by the University of Maryland. The GTD is considered to be the most comprehensive global dataset on terrorist activity and has now codified over 170,000 terrorist incidents.

economicsandpeace.org
start.umd.edu