The US State Department has released statistical data collected globally in its annual report on terrorism. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) maintains a statistical dataset to include with the annual country report on terrorism. The START has maintained a Global Terror Database (GTD) since 2001 after the 9/11 attacks. It collects open source data from around the world to analyse and project in its annual comprehensive report. The 2017 report of the START has reflected some interesting developments and trends in terrorism globally.
- In 2017, the total number of terror attacks decreased globally by 23% and the total number of deaths decreased by 27% as compared to 2016.
- While the majority of the decline was due to the dwindling of ISIS powerbase in Iraq, as Iraq registers the highest numbers of terrorist attacks and deaths, countries like Kenya, Somalia and the United Kingdom showed a significant increase in the total number of terrorist attacks and deaths.
- 100 countries were the victims of terror attacks in 2017 according to the report. While 59% of the attacks were centred in 5 countries, namely, Iraq, Afganistan, India, Pakistan and the Philippines, 70% of the total deaths(due to terror attacks) were centred in Afganistan, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and Somalia.
The report states that a total of 8,584 terrorist attacks have taken place worldwide in 2017. A total of 18,700 deaths have occurred due to these attacks of which 24% deaths were that of the perpetrators themselves.
India, as per the report, ranks third globally in the number of deaths due to terror attacks with a total of 860 deaths due to terrorism. Iraq ranks the first with 1951 deaths and Afganistan follows with 1171 deaths.
On the terror attacks that had taken place in India in 2017, the report highlights the following points:
- Nearly 3/4ths of the total terrorist attacks in India were non-lethal. However, 4 attacks were such that more than 10 people were killed. One of the deadliest attacks was a train derailment in January 2017, where more than 30 people were killed.
- The number of people kidnapped or taken hostage declined 29% as compared to 2016.
- Though 43 different active terror groups were involved in the total number of attacks, the deadliest was the Communist Party of India (Maoist). It has been responsible for 53% of the total attacks.
- Bombings and blasts were the most common form of attack, registering 31% among all incidents. Attacks on infrastructure, property and facilities have increased significantly from 106 in 2016 to 198 in 2017.
- While the maximum number of attacks took place in Jammu and Kashmir (25%), Chhattisgarh and West Bengal were the next most attacked states with 15% and 10% share in the total attacks respectively.
In a shocking development, while the ISIS was behind the most number of terrorism deaths and attacks globally, with a total of 857 attacks causing 4350 deaths, 3262 injuries and 2180 kidnappings, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) was ranked as the 4th deadliest terror organisation in the world with a total of 295 attacks causing 206 deaths, 212 injuries and 125 kidnappings.
What is even more surprising is that the CPI (Maoist) ranks higher than Boko Haram.
Earlier, the State Department had praised the Indian government for its handling of terrorism and its efforts to tackle terror organisations in its Country Report on Terrorism. It had also slammed Pakistan for ‘not doing enough’ to curb the terror groups operating from its soil.