Afghanistan Most Affected Nation by Terrorism: IEP

The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) in its annual World Terrorism Index has placed Afghanistan as the most-affected country on earth from the impacts of terrorism.

The IEP has said that in 2019, terrorism has posed devastative loss and damages to Afghanistan’s economy.

“Afghanistan was the country with the highest economic impact, equivalent to 16.7 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” said the report.

Based on the report, in 2019, deaths from terrorism fell for the fifth consecutive year, after peaking in 2014. “The total number of deaths fell by 15.5 percent to 13,826,” the report said.

According to the report, from 20 deadly terrorist attacks in the world in 2019, six attacks were recorded in Afghanistan.

The report reads: “The largest fall in the impact of terrorism occurred in Afghanistan, which recorded 1,654 fewer deaths from terrorism in 2018, a 22.4 per cent decrease from the prior year. However, Afghanistan remains the country most impacted by terrorism, after overtaking Iraq in 2018.”

The IEP has described the Taliban as one of the most deadly groups on earth.

According to the report, 41 percent of the deaths from terrorism in 2019 occurred in Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan accounted for 41 percent of deaths from terrorism globally, with the Taliban being responsible for 87 per cent of these fatalities. During 2019 deaths from terrorism declined by 22 per cent, falling to 5,725. While this reduction in the number of deaths provides some optimism, it is the second highest number of deaths recorded from terrorism in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion,” the report said.

“Afghanistan remains the country with the highest impact from terrorism. However, terrorism deaths in the country declined in 2019 for the first time in three years,” the report said.

“The Taliban remained the world’s deadliest terrorist group in 2019. However, terrorist deaths attributed to the group declined by 18 per cent to 4,990. Whether the peace talks in Afghanistan have a substantial impact on terrorist activity remains to be seen,” says the report.

The report says the four terrorist groups responsible for the most deaths in 2019 were the Taliban, Boko Haram, Daesh and Al-Shabaab.

These four groups were responsible for 7,578 deaths from terrorism, representing 55 percent of total deaths in 2019, the report says. Three of these four were also the deadliest groups last year, with Al-Shabaab replacing the Khorasan Chapter of Islamic State this year. In 2012, just prior to the large increase in terrorist activity around the world, these four groups were responsible for just over 31 percent of all deaths from terrorism, the report says.

On the Tactics favoured by Taliban In 2019, the report said: “ the Taliban’s main targets were police and military personnel, which accounted for over half of attacks and deaths. The group’s focus on state forces has been a feature of their insurgency campaign as a means to undermine state stability. In 2019, approximately 1,835 people were killed in attacks on police and military targets. As peace talks progressed throughout 2019, the Taliban continued to clash with pro-government militias, launching 88 attacks which resulted in 486 fatalities.”

On the civilian fatalities, the report said: “Civilian deaths fell by 31 per cent, from 1,140 in 2018 to 783 in 2019. Despite the decline in civilian deaths, attacks against civilians increased by 24 per cent in 2019. The majority of these attacks were bombings, which increased by 49 per cent from the preceding year. The reduction in civilian deaths caused by the Taliban was due to a fall in the number of roadside bombs and other improvised explosives used.7 This decline was reflected in the fatality rate of civilian attacks in 2019, which fell from 11 deaths per attack in 2018, to 3.1 in 2019.

The Afghan Defense Ministry sees terrorist groups as main factor behind civilian casualties.

“The Taliban, Daesh and other terrorist groups are the main factor for civilian casualties in Afghanistan,” said Rohullah Ahmadzai, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense.

“If the peace process moves forward, this is a golden opportunity for the Afghan government and the people,” said economic analyst Esmatullah Eshaqzai.

The global economic impact of terrorism in 2019 amounted to US$26.4 billion, a fall of 25 percent from 2018, the report says, adding that this was mainly driven by a fall in terrorism deaths in the Middle East and North Africa.