Where Terrorism Happens

Despite what popular media leads us to believe, terrorism is concentrated in very few countries. 82% of all those killed in terrorist attacks last year were in just 5 countries:  Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria. These 5 countries experienced a dramatic increase in terrorism over the last year which resulted in 14,722 fatalities collectively.


The vast majority of people killed by terrorist attacks were in Iraq, the country that has suffered the most deaths from terrorism over the last 10 years. Last year alone there were 2,492 terrorist attacks which killed 6,362 people in Iraq. The overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks in Iraq last year were not “claimed” by any terrorist organisations; of those that were claimed,77% were by ISIL.


In Afghanistan, the country to suffer the second largest impact of terrorism, there was a 10% increase in the number of terrorist attacks last year, which resulted in 3,11 fatalities. There are seven different terrorist organisations operating in Afghanistan, the Taliban is the most deadly and were responsible for around 75% of all fatalities last year.


Pakistan has around 23 different terrorist groups, however 11 groups account for the majority of claimed attacks. Last year alone there were 1,933 terrorist attacks, which killed 2,345 people. Over 60% of the fatalities were due to terrorist bombings and explosions.


The dramatic increase in terrorism in Nigeria can be attributed to the rise of Boko Haram. Last year alone the organisation killed at least 1,587 people and claimed responsibility for 90% of all terrorist attacks in Nigeria. 12% of all terrorist attacks are kidnappings or hostage takings.


The Syrian civil war has resulted in a drastic increase in terrorism. It is estimated that the civil war has led to between 180,000-260,000 deaths and the displacement of over 35% of the population. The majority of these deaths are classified as a result of conventional warfare rather than terrorist attacks, however terrorism has been deployed as a tactic by some rebel groups.

Trends in Terrorism

What we see in the five countries most impacted by terrorism is reflective of a broader trend: most terrorist activity occurs in countries already embroiled in conflict. 72% of terrorist attacks occur during a period of major conflict.

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