Taliban jihadists replaced their Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) counterparts as the world’s chief perpetrators of terrorist attacks last year, with 1,093 individual attacks, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism 2015.
However, ISIS’s 931 terrorist attacks in 2015 were reportedly much deadlier than those carried out by the Taliban, resulting in 6,050 deaths compared to the 4,512 fatalities linked to the Taliban, notes the State Department’s annual reports, a congressionally mandated analytical and statistical review of global terrorism.
ISIS replaced the Nigeria-based Boko Haram as the terrorist group responsible for the most fatalities in 2015. Boko Haram was responsible for 491 terrorist attacks last year resulting in 5,450 deaths. Boko Haram is treated as a separate terrorist group as its logistics are independent of ISIS, despite the group pledging allegiance to Islamic State caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last year.
In 2015, ISIS was also responsible for causing more injuries (6,010) and taking more hostages (4,759) than any other terrorist group.
On Sunday, three Taliban jihadists attacked an Afghan court, killing seven people including “a number of prosecutors and judges,” the terrorist group announced, according to CNN.
“The attack triggered a shootout with Afghan security forces that lasted 1 1/2 hours,” adds the news network. “At least 23 people were wounded.”
The Taliban has stepped up an increasingly violent insurgency since President Obama and NATO ended their combat mission in Afghanistan in December 2014. Afghan civilians and security forces have since suffered a record number of casualties at the hands of the terrorist group.
Five terrorist groups were identified by the State Department as being responsible for the most terrorist attacks in 2015: the Taliban (1,093); ISIS (931); Boko Haram (491); the Communist Party of India-Maoist (343); and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, (238).
“A total of 270 groups and organizations were identified as perpetrators of terrorist attacks, including 78 organizations that had not previously been identified as perpetrators in the Global Terrorism Database,” reports the State Department. “The number of newly identified perpetrator organizations declined in 2015 from more than 100 in 2014.”
“The biggest surprise was the removal of the Somali group al-Shabaab from the top-five list of perpetrators, that outfit having been responsible for the third-most attacks in 2014,” notes The Atlantic magazine. “The new addition to the 2015 list was the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has re-committed to the use of political violence in a significant way, increasing the number of attacks from 47 to 38 and noncombatants killed from 12 to 287.”
Iraq was the location of the highest numbers of total attacks, deaths, and people injured and kidnapped.
Overall, “the number of attacks in which victims were kidnapped or taken hostage declined in 2015; however, the number of kidnapping victims and hostages increased,” notes the Department of State (DOS) assessment. “This was primarily due to an increase in the number of attacks involving exceptionally large numbers of victims.”
The total number of terrorist attacks across the globe last year dropped by 13 percent, from 13,482 in 2014 to 11,774, and total fatalities by 14 percent, from 32,763 to 28,328.
“This was largely due to fewer attacks and deaths in Iraq, Pakistan, and Nigeria. This represents the first decline in total terrorist attacks and deaths worldwide since 2012,” notes DOS evaluation, adding, “In several countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, the Philippines, Syria, and Turkey, terrorist attacks and total deaths increased in 2015.”
There was also a slight decrease in the number of countries where terrorist attacks took place, from 95 in 2014 to 92 last year.
“Although terrorist attacks took place in 92 countries in 2015, they were heavily concentrated geographically,” declares DOS. “More than 55% of all attacks took place in five countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nigeria), and 74% of all deaths due to terrorist attacks took place in five countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, and Pakistan).”
“Of the 28,328 people killed in terrorist attacks in 2015, 6,924 (24%) were perpetrators of terrorist attacks,” it adds. “Perpetrators were killed intentionally in suicide attacks, accidentally while attempting to carry out attacks, or by security forces or victims responding to attacks. This is an 11% increase in the number of perpetrator deaths, compared to 2014.”