Terrorism, a word weighed down by global abomination and global and local punditry, had finally sent a chilling wave through Bangladesh when its "local" exponents struck in the heart of Dhaka. Holey Artisan attack, that forced Bangladesh to rethink its strategy to fight violence that appeared in religious garb, pushed the country to the edge as the death of 7 Japanese and 9 Italian, among others, hit the business sector hard in the first six months after the incident.
Three years after the attack which dealt devastating blow to our national image of a moderate country, Bangladesh seems to have gained ground in fighting the scourge. The success has been measured in improved rank on the global index. The country has moved six spots and was ranked 31 in the latest edition of the Global Terrorism Index published by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a think-tank based in Sydney, Australia.
The report said, in 2018, Bangladesh experienced 31 terrorist attacked and 7 fatalities, which is 70 percent fewer in deaths from the prior year.
Afghanistan, in contrast, found itself mired in violence. It was the most affected by terrorism in 2018. The impact is obvious on the seventh edition of the Global Terrorism Index which puts Afghanistan right at the top. Overall deaths from terrorism in Afghanistan have increased by 631% since 2008.
Afghanistan and the Taliban remains eternally related – 16 of the 20 worst terrorist attacks around the world occurred in the country and the Taliban was responsible. Though, there were talks between the US and the Taliban that began in 2018, in that year alone 12 of the devastating attacks were carried out by the Taliban. Whereas, some 7,379 people's death in Iraq won that country the epithet of the "deadliest country". Iraq is now at second place with 1,054 killed followed by Nigeria, Syria, Pakistan and Somalia.
Global trend of terrorism
Deaths from terrorist attacks halved in the last four years, but number of countries affected by terrorism is growing. Although, the decline is not constant across countries.
In the 2019 Global Terrorism Index, the total number of global deaths from terrorism declined by 15.2 per cent to 15,952 in 2018. This represents a 53 per cent reduction since the number peaked in 2014, when 33,555 people were killed in terrorist attacks.
There has been an overall improvement from suffering. Some 98 countries suffered less from the terrorism last year, compared to 40 countries where the situation got worse. However, the overall impact of terrorism was still higher in 80 countries when compared to five years ago, the report said.
In 2018, around 103 countries recorded at least one terrorist incident and 71 countries suffering at least one fatality in the same year.
Europe and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) were the two regions that recorded the biggest improvement in the impact of terrorism, with the number of deaths falling by 70 per cent and 65 per cent respectively.
The biggest fall in absolute numbers occurred in MENA, with over 4,400 fewer deaths than in 2017.
Female participation in terrorism increasing
Terrorists are winning women supporters whose presence and participation have also increased over the years. Of over 300 suicide attacks since 1985 at least one female proponent was involved, which killed 3,071 people. Woman terrorists accounted for five per cent of suicide attacks.
Majority of the suicide attacks in past five years have been attributed to Boko Haram. Since 2014, this group has been responsible for 87 per cent deaths from female suicide attacks with at least 146 suicide attacks causing over 900 deaths.
The number of female suicide attacks increased by 450 per cent between 2013 and 2018. By contrast, male suicide attacks fell by 47 per cent over the same period.
Afghanistan leads South Asia in terrorism.
The increase in deaths from terrorism in Afghanistan meant that South Asia remains the region most impacted by terrorism.
Bangladesh had the largest improvement of any country in South Asia. Five of the eight terrorist organisations that perpetrated the attacks in 2017 recorded no incidents in 2018, including the Islamic State in Bangladesh said the report.
Afghanistan is now the most affected country impacted by terrorism, with an increase of 59 per cent, a total 7,379 deaths from terrorism.
India is set at 7th place with 350 killed, 540 injured in 748 terrorist incidents. In India, 8,473 people were killed since 2001 at the hand of the terrorists.
Sri Lanka's score improved in 2018 based on an 87 per cent reduction in the number of attacks falling from 29 in 2017 to none in 2018. However, the terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday 2019 killed 259 people.
Pakistan too showed a vibrant improvement, with 366 terror attacks in 2018. This was a 37 per cent reduction in both the number of attacks and the number of deaths compared to the prior year.
Attacks in Nepal fell by 61 per cent on year, with no confirmed fatalities recorded in 2018.
Economic impact of terrorism
The global economic impact of terrorism is something to be reckoned with. It was, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace, $33 billion in 2018. It is a substantial decrease of 38 per cent from the previous year.
This amounts to a small fraction of the total global cost of violence which was equal to $14 trillion last year, according to the IEP – this larger figure includes other forms of violence such as homicide, armed conflict and military expenditure.
The Global Terrorism Index ranks 163 countries according to the impact of terrorism, based on factors such as the number of attacks, fatalities, injuries and the extent of property damage.