The US State Department released its annual, ‘Country Reports on Terrorism 2016’, on Wednesday. This provides the State Department an annual assessment of trends and events in international terrorism. Justin Siberell, Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism said, that the total number of terrorist attacks in 2016 had decreased by 9%. And deaths by 13% compared to the previous year.
Country Reports on Terrorism
Country Reports on Terrorism is an annual report published by the State Department. In 2005, it replaced ‘the Patterns of Global Terrorism Report’. This report does not provide any statistics on terrorism. It has several chapters about a country and the progress it has made in fighting the ‘War on Terrorism’.
The report is published in accordance with Title 22, Section 2656 (f) of the United States Code, which requires the Secretary of State to submit an annual report on terrorism to Congress. The report provides policy-related assessments and a country-by-country breakdown on cooperation with foreign governments on counter terrorism.
Terrorist attacks took place in 104 countries in 2016. India ranked 3rd among countries most affected by terror attacks in 2016. Pakistan was ranked 4th.
55% of all attacks took place in Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
75% of all deaths befell due to terrorist attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria and Pakistan.
This was largely due to fewer attacks and deaths from terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Yemen. At the same time, there was an upsurge in terrorist attacks and total deaths in several countries, including Iraq, Somalia, and Turkey.
The report stated that the Islamic State was responsible for more attacks and deaths than any other perpetrator group in 2016. In 2015, it was the Taliban that was responsible for more attacks and deaths.
Our assessment is that, it’s too early to say that the incidence of terrorism has come down. It would be realistic to assume that such terrorist attacks have fallen in the US. But the situation is not the same in many parts of Africa, South east Asia , South Asia , the Middle East etc. We have not been able to address the fundamental issue as to why people take up the cause of terrorist organizations. Unless we are able to answer this , the above percentages could be at best semantics.