Bangladesh has improved by six notches in the latest Global Terrorism Index (GTI), marking the best improvement among the South Asian Countries in 2018. The country has been ranked 31, with a score of 5.208, which is a six step improvement from rank 25 in 2018, according to the Global Terrorism Index 2019 published recently. “Bangladesh had the largest improvement of any country in South Asia. It recorded 31 terrorist attacks and seven fatalities in 2018, a 70 per cent reduction in deaths from the prior year. Five of the eight terrorist organisations that perpetrated the attacks in 2017 recorded no incidents in 2018, including the Islamic State in Bangladesh,” the Index reports. “Six out of seven South Asian countries improved on the 2018 GTI, with Bangladesh recording the largest improvement, followed by Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, India and Bhutan. Afghanistan was the only country in the region to deteriorate in 2018, recording more attacks than the rest of the region combined,” it observed. Afghanistan ranked the top in the world as well as south Asian countries while Pakistan, despite making good improvements, ranked second in South Asia and fifth in Global ranking with a score of 7.889, the report said. India scored 7.5187 on the GTI, being ranked the 7th. Notably, the United States, which is waging a global war on terror, has attained a score of 5.691 and was ranked 22nd on the index, which is 9 notches worse than Bangladesh. The total number of deaths from terrorism declined for the fourth consecutive year in 2018, falling by 15.2 per cent to 15,952 deaths, the report said. Nine of the ten countries most impacted by terrorism have improved and deaths from terrorism are now 52 per cent lower than their peak in 2014. The fall in deaths has been largest in Iraq and Syria and Nigeria, the report stated. Meanwhile, Incidents of far-right terrorism have been increasing in the West, particularly in Western Europe, North America, and Oceania, the report noted. The total number of incidents has increased by 320 per cent over the past five years. In 2018, total deaths attributed to far-right groups increased by 52 per cent to 26 deaths. To the end of September in 2019, 77 deaths have been attributed to far-right groups, it said. In Afghanistan, having the worst scenario in South Asia and the world and ranked 1 on the GTI, fatalities from terrorism increased by 59 per cent last year, from over 4,650 to nearly 7,400. Most of the increase was in events attributed to the Taliban, which carried out 971 attacks, killing at 6,100 people. The rise in violence over the ensuing year took place amidst increased military pressure from the US, including intensified airstrikes. Pakistan experienced 366 attacks in 2018, but had a 37 per cent reduction in both the number of attacks and the number of deaths compared to the prior year. Pakistan recorded a reduction in fatalities in attacks by TTP and LeJ. Sri Lanka’s score improved in 2018 based on an 87 per cent reduction in the number of attacks, the GTI noted. The major decline was in attacks attributed to anti-Muslim extremists, falling from 29 in 2017 to none in 2018. However, the terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday 2019 killed 259 people, it said. While attacks in Nepal fell by 61 per cent year on year, with no confirmed fatalities recorded in 2018. India, also recorded an improvement, with a 13.6 percent reduction in the number of attacks and a nine per cent reduction in deaths, the report said. The impact of terrorism decreased in the US last year, driving an average improvement for North America. However, an attack in Toronto that killed ten and wounded 15 led to a deterioration in Canada’s score. The improvement in the US’s score in 2018 was driven by a 32 per cent reduction in terrorism deaths. However, the number of total incidents rose year on year from 49 to 57, according to the report. Since 2002, Canada has experienced 49 terrorist attacks, compared to 382 in the US. The majority of the incidents in both countries have been arson or incendiary attacks, but none of these types of attacks have resulted in fatalities. On the other hand, the largest decline in fatalities last year was in Iraq, which had 75 per cent fewer deaths from terrorism in 2018. Syria followed, with nearly a 40 per cent reduction. The principal driver of these improvements was the reduction in attacks perpetrated by ISIL, which fell by 36 per cent in Iraq and 53 per cent in Syria from 2017 to 2018, the report said. About the European countries, the index says Europe recorded improvements in 25 of its 36 countries in 2018 and is the second best performing region, after Central America and the Caribbean. Only eight countries deteriorated last year, while three recorded no change in score. Europe recorded 62 deaths from terrorism in 2018, of which 40 occurred in Turkey. Turkey remains the most affected country, although its score did improve based on a 50 per cent reduction in attacks from 2017 to 2018. There were 95 incidents, resulting in 40 deaths, compared to 119 attacks and 123 deaths in 2017, said the GTI report. The United Kingdom, on the other hand, had twice as many attacks, totalling 95 incidents in 2018, but just two fatalities, it said. The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) is a report published annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a global think tank headquartered in Sydney, Australia. The GTI is based on data from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) which is collected and collated by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland in US. The GTI covers 163 countries, covering 99.7% of the world’s population.
Staff Reporter, Dhaka