Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 29 October 2020

Taliban becomes world’s most deadly terrorist outfit

ISIS attacks fall after military successes in Iraq and Syria

Afghan men bury the bodies of security forces killed in a suicide attack in Kunduz province north of Kabul in September. AP
Afghan men bury the bodies of security forces killed in a suicide attack in Kunduz province north of Kabul in September. AP

The Taliban overtook ISIS as the world’s most deadly terrorist group in 2018 for the first time in four years, according to an international study.

A rise in terrorist activity in Afghanistan saw deaths attributed to the Taliban in 2018 rise by 71 per cent to 6,103. Rising Taliban violence contrasted with a sharp reduction in attacks by ISIS in the face of military successes against the group in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS has seen its fighters reduced in the two countries to 18,000 compared with more than 70,000 in 2014, according to the Global Terrorism Index (GTI). ISIS-connected deaths fell from 4,350 in 2017 to 1,328 the following year.

The collapse of the group in the Middle East has also contributed to lower levels of attacks in Europe.

Steve Killelea, Executive Chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace, an Australian-based think-tank which compiles the report, said the collapse of ISIS in Syria and Iraq was “one of the factors allowing Western Europe to record its lowest number of incidents since 2012”.

“However, the situation still remains volatile, with large parts of Syria being contested and many smaller groups sympathetic to ISIS[ISIS] philosophies being active, leaving the possibility of further Islamist attacks in Europe.”

Some groups affiliated to the ISIS have been behind increased levels of terrorism. The Khorasan Chapter of the Islamic State was the fourth deadliest terrorist group in 2018 with more than 1,000 recorded deaths, mainly in Afghanistan.

Overall deaths from terrorism fell for the fourth successive year, according to the GTI, largely owing to the reversals for ISIS and Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Attacks have also sharply reduced in Somalia following an increase in US-led airstrikes targeting the group.

The Middle East and North Africa recorded the largest drop in absolute numbers with 4,400 fewer deaths than in 2017. Only Iran, Morocco and Jordan saw an increase in deaths related to terrorism.

The annual report said that the global economic impact of terrorism was $33 billion, a 38 per cent decline from the previous year.

Updated: November 20, 2019 04:58 PM

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