Afghanistan remained the country most impacted by terrorism for the fourth consecutive year, despite attacks and deaths falling by 75 per cent and 58 per cent, respectively, Global Terrorism Index (GTI) reported on Tuesday.
The report stated, however, that the Index does not include acts of state repression and violence by state actors. As such, acts committed by the Taliban are no longer included in the report’s scope since they took control of the government.
The GTI reported that Afghanistan recorded 633 fatalities in 2022, despite terrorism-related deaths declining by 866 in 2022, a 58 per cent improvement over 2021.
“Afghanistan’s drop can largely be attributed to the Taliban taking control of the country after the fall of Kabul in August 2021,” the report said. “As the Taliban are now the state actor in much of Afghanistan, their attacks fall outside the scope of the GTI’s definition of terrorism.”
However, GTI reports that the Islamic State-Khorasan (Daesh) has emerged as “the most active terrorist group” in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country and was responsible for the deaths of 422 people in 2022 – accounting for almost 67 per cent of the total terrorism-related deaths in the country for the year.
Last year, terrorism was widespread in Afghanistan, with terrorist incidents recorded in 26 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. GTI stated that although Kabul remained the province most affected by terrorism for the ninth consecutive year, the number of deaths there more than halved from 549 in 2021 to 217 in 2022.
The number of suicide bombings also decreased significantly in 2022, with only seven suicide bombings recorded compared to 11 in 2021.
The total number of deaths caused by these bombings was 78, a 72% decline from the 276 deaths recorded the previous year. In 2022, bombings were the deadliest form of terrorist attack and resulted in the deaths of 434 people, compared to 186 fatalities caused by armed attacks.
GTI said that the Islamic State of Khorasan – or Daesh – “is likely to exploit tensions between Afghans and the Taliban to bolster their numbers. The Taliban struggles to provide adequate food supplies and maintain the economy.”
Since they took power, more than 90 per cent of the population has suffered from food insecurity. This is exacerbated by the Western suspension of aid and international organizations, which had been crucial to the economy and public health sector, GTI reported.
“Additionally, counter-terrorism agencies remain concerned that the Taliban may be supporting terrorist organizations, particularly al-Qaeda, and that Afghanistan could become a haven for terrorists,” the report read.
The report warned about the consequences of supporting terrorism in the country, “The perceived state support of terrorism could further prevent Afghanistan from accessing international markets, or the aid needed to provide food and health care services to its citizens, further exacerbating its humanitarian crisis.”