The five most dangerous terror groups in 2022

The Global Terrorism Index released on Tuesday found more than 3,500 deaths caused by the groups last year

Al Shabaab fighters have struck at regular intervals even though their influence in the region has been waning. AP
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Four of the terrorist groups that killed the most people last year were ISIS affiliates, ending the lives of 1,833 people in 643 attacks worldwide, a new report has shown.

Those numbers are a drop from 2021, when 2,194 people were killed in 865 attacks.

The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) from the Institute of Economics and Peace released its annual report on Monday, detailing trends in terrorism around the world, including a list of the deadliest groups.

Here's what you need to know:


ISIS continues to be the world's deadliest terrorist group with its main arm and affiliates responsible for 27 per cent of terrorism deaths last year.

Although the number of attacks fell compared to 2021, the group struck in five of the world's nine regions: South Asia, Mena, sub-Saharan Africa, Russia and Eurasia, and Asia-Pacific.

Iraq and Syria recorded the most attacks by the group. In northern Syria, the Al Sina'a attack involved 100 members of the group storming a prison holding 3,500 inmates, many of whom were members of the group. A week-long battle to regain control of the area and capture the escaped members killed more than 370 ISIS fighters in the Ghwayran neighbourhood of Hasakah.

2. Al Shabaab

Police and military officials comb the scene of an Al Shabaab militant attack, in Mogadishu, Somalia. Reuters

Al Qaeda-affiliate Al Shabaab killed 784 people and injured 1,016 in East Africa last year. Based mainly in Kenya and Somalia, the group predominantly uses bombing tactics, the GTI found.

In 2022, the group made efforts to gain a foothold in Ethiopia's Tigray region, subject of a recently resolved civil war between the government and Tigray People's Liberation Front. The only two attacks by the group in the area had no injuries or deaths.

3. ISIS — Khorasan Province (ISIS-K)

Taliban inspect the scene of an operation against the ISIS militants at a hideout on the outskirts of Kabul. EPA

ISIS is expanding outside of Iraq and Syria. Its Afghan affiliate ISIS Khorasan Province killed 498 people and injured 832 — the most of any arm of the group — in 2022.

Recruiting from the eighth-deadliest group, Tahrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and a weakened Al Qaeda, the group has exchanged its main enemies of the Afghan military and US troops to the Taliban group, who took over in 2021.

ISIS-K has repeatedly attacked minorities in Afghanistan, including the Hazara people, at mosques, schools and public institutions.

4. Jamaat Nusrat Al Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM)

JNIM, formed in 2017 in the Sahel, killed 279 people in 2022, and injured 215 — a 28 per cent drop compared to 2021.

The GTI says it is a coalition of Salafi extremist groups Ansar Dine, the Macina Liberation Front, Al-Mourabitoun and the Saharan branch of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The group is rapidly expanding outside of the Sahel, taking advantage of grievances against various governments to recruit and attack in Benin and Togo last year.

The GTI report warned that the fastest growth in terrorist groups is taking place in the Sahel.

5. Balochistan Liberation Army

Pakistani Army soldiers and relatives attend the funeral of Cpt Dr Bilal Khalil, who was killed in a gunfight with the BLA in Balochistan. EPA

Operating mostly in Pakistan, the Balochistan Liberation Army emerged in 2000 with the aim of independence for the province.

In April 2022, a suicide attack claimed by the group killed three Chinese citizens and a Pakistani driver — part of a supposed policy to target China as its economic and security interests in Pakistan. Explosives and grenades are the weapons of choice for the group, GTI found.

Unlike many of the groups on this list, the amount of killings attributed to the group are at their highest for 20 years, with 233 deaths recorded last year. Only 26 were killed by the group in 2021.

Updated: March 14, 2023, 4:27 PM