U.S. President Donald Trump presided over a decline of nearly 25 percent in the number of terrorist attacks and their lethality across the globe last year compared to 2016, a feat likely made possible by the ongoing demise of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), a U.S. government-linked study shows.
Although ISIS remains the most prolific and deadly jihadi group in the world, followed by the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda’s Somalia-based al-Shabaab, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) noted a decline in ISIS attacks in a report released on August 1:
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was responsible for the most terrorist attacks (1,321) and deaths (7,120) in 2017, though were responsible for 10 percent fewer attacks and 40 percent fewer deaths than in 2016. The Taliban and al-Shabaab were the next most active with 907 attacks (4,925 deaths) and 573 attacks (1894 deaths) respectively.
Established as a Center for Excellence by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate, the University of Maryland issues various START studies every year.
The consortium catalogs attacks across the world by terrorists of all stripes, from ISIS to members of the Communist Party of India-Maoist.
In 2017, there were 10,900 terrorist attacks around the world, which killed more than 26,400 people, including 8,075 perpetrators and 18,488 victims…In 2016, more than 13,400 terrorist attacks took place around the world, resulting in more than 34,000 total deaths, including more than 11,600 perpetrator deaths. This represents a 9 percent decrease in the total number of terrorist attacks, and a 10 percent decrease in the total number of deaths, in comparison to 2015.
START acknowledged that the number of terrorist attacks peaked at the pinnacle of the Islamic State’s power in 2014 when it controlled swathes of Iraq and Syria and announced its “caliphate” in those two countries, along with intentions to expand to all corners of the world:
With 10,900 terrorist attacks killing more than 26,400 people in 2017, the numbers of terrorist attacks and deaths worldwide have declined for the third consecutive year.
Despite recent decreases in terrorist violence, the number of attacks in 2017 is 28 percent higher than in 2012, and deaths 71 percent higher. Terrorist violence peaked in 2014 at nearly 17,000 attacks and more than 45,000 total deaths.
Muslim countries – namely Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and, to a lesser extent, India, especially New Delhi-controlled Kashmir – are home to the vast majority of terrorist attacks and deaths across the world.
President Trump presides over an ongoing drop in terrorist assaults and lethality, mainly carried out by Islamic hardliners. His record contradicts critics who said the Trump administration would bring chaos to the world. The Islamic State has become a shadow of its former self, its caliphate reduced to a few small pockets of land in Syria.
Brett McGurk, the U.S. State Department’s special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition who served under the former administration, acknowledged the fall of ISIS “accelerated” under Trump but cautioned the group remains a threat, noting that it has established branches across the world.