Global Terrorism Index Released: The Results Might Surprise You

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(Illustration: Free Stock Photos/Public Domain)
(Illustration: Free Stock Photos/Public Domain)

The Global Terrorism Index for 2018 was released showing the fourth year in a row that deaths from terrorism worldwide fell.

From a peak in 2014 (due to the rapid rise of ISIS), 2018 saw 15,952 deaths from terrorism, a 15.2 percent fall from 2017.

The annual Global Terrorism Index is published by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

Here are the most significant takeaways from the report which documented terror deaths and trends in 2018:


Where Terror Occurs Most

  • Afghanistan replaced Iraq as the country most affected by terrorism due to both the Taliban and ISIS
  • Deaths from terror occurred in 71 countries, although terror attacks occurred in 103 countries (the highest number of countries recorded since 2002)
  • Terrorist attacks substantially increased in Nigeria, Mali, and Mozambique
  • South Asia recorded more deaths from terror than any other region since 2012


Which Regions Improved Most

  • Deaths from terror attacks in Europe decreased by 70 percent
  • Death from terror attacks in the Middle East decreased by 65 percent. In real numbers, the biggest decline was in the Middle East with 4,400 fewer deaths in 2018 than in 2017
  • Deaths from terror attacks in the Middle East is 83 percent lower than its peak in 2014


Which Groups Are Deadliest

  • The Taliban is now the world’s most deadly terror group with half of the Afghan population living under threat of the Taliban
  • The number of deaths at the hand of the Taliban rose 71 percent in 2018 (to 6,103 killed). That amounted to 38 percent of all terror-related deaths worldwide
  • ISIS in Afghanistan is the world’s fourth-deadliest group, causing 1,000 deaths in 2018


Impact of the Defeat of ISIS

  • Terror deaths decreased in Iraq by 75 percent (with less than 3,217 killed)
  • Deaths due to ISIS decreased by 69 percent
  • From a peak of 70,000 ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq in 2014, there are now 18,000 left


Impact of US Global Fight of Terrorism

  • Besides its fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the US-led air strikes against Al Shabaab in Somalia served to decrease attacks by the group by 24 percent
  • After Iraq, Somalia recorded the second largest reduction in deaths from terror for the second year in a row


Global Economic Impact of Terrorism

  • The cost of terror worldwide was $33 billion in purchasing power parity, a decrease in 38 percent from 2017. This figure does not taking into account the impact of terror on businesses, investments and the cost of security agencies that need to be involved in counter terrorism efforts


Other Factor Influencing Propensity of Terror in Any Given Country

  • 95 percent of terror deaths occur in countries that are already involved in a conflict
  • 99 percent of terror deaths occur in countries already in conflict and with high levels of political terror



  • The number of female suicide bombers increased 450 percent between 2013 and 2018 (although female bombers still represent a small percentage of all attacks)
  • The number of male suicide bombers decreased 47 percent between 2013 and 2018 (mainly due to the fact that 80 percent of suicide bombings by Boko Haram were carried out by females)
  • Female suicide attacks are less deadly than those carried out by males


Far-Right and Far-Left Terrorism Trends

  • Far-Right terrorism is a tiny fraction of worldwide terror
  • Incidents of Far-Right terrorism are increasing in the West, up 320 percent over the past five years
  • Deaths due to Far-Right groups were 26 in 2018. To date in 2019, 77 deaths were attributed to Far-Right groups
  • Far-Right terrorism is mainly carried out by individuals and not groups
  • Historically in the West, nationalist or separatist, Islamist and Far-Left terrorism has been much more common
  • In the past 10 years, 322 terror attacks were classified as either Far-Left or Far-Right compared to 1,677 attacks between 1970 and 1980



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