The annual report by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics and Peace states that the country most affected by terrorism in 2018 was Afghanistan (7,379 killed), followed by Iraq (1,054 killed). The nations worst affected by terrorism after Afghanistan and Iraq includes Nigeria, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia and India.
The report states that 8,473 Indians have died since 2001 in terror attacks with the state of Jammu and Kashmir leading the list. However, the 2018 death count was 10 per cent lower than in 2017, and 53 per cent lower than its peak in 2009.
This report indicates that terror attacks in India are becoming less bloody. In 1998, about 4.3 people were killed in each attack. That declined to 1.6 deaths per attack in 2008, and 0.5 in 2018. “In 2018 alone, 69 per cent of attacks had zero deaths and 22 per cent had one fatality”, says the report.
With the ISIS in retreat mode, the Afghan Taliban has emerged as the world’s deadliest terrorist group which accounted for 38 per cent of all deaths in 2018. ISIS had been the deadliest group each year since 2013. At third place is the Khorasan Chapter of the Islamic State, which is active in Afghanistan and Pakistan and is now surfacing in India. At fourth place is the deadly Nigerian group, Boko Haram.
The Institute for Economics and Peace includes armed insurgent groups in Kashmir and the north-east, such as Hizbul Mujahideen as “terrorist groups”. Based on that, it reports that “Compared to other countries amongst the ten most impacted, India faces a wider range of terrorist groups, with Islamist, communist and separatist groups all active in the country.”
Jammu & Kashmir is India’s region most affected by terrorism in 2018, with 321 attacks, resulting in 123 deaths, most of which were perpetrated by the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
“Both JeM and LeT have also been active in Pakistan and Afghanistan, though most of their attacks are carried out in India,” notes the report.
India’s second most impacted region was Chhattisgarh, in the centre of the communist “red corridor”. Chhattisgarh suffered 138 attacks in 2018, resulting in 123 deaths, all from Maoist extremists. While there were far fewer attacks than in Kashmir, the death toll in Chhattisgarh is identical.
Afghanistan deteriorated considerably than any other country, Bangladesh was South Asia’s saving grace which recorded 31 terrorist attacks and seven fatalities in 2018, a 70 per cent reduction in deaths from the prior year.
“Five of the eight terrorist organisations that perpetrated the attacks in 2017 recorded no incidents in 2018, including the Islamic State in Bangladesh”, noted the report. Pakistan too showed a clear improvement, with 366 terror attacks in 2018. This was a 37 per cent reduction in both the number of attacks and the number of deaths compared to the prior year.