WASHINGTON: Five countries including India, Pakistan and Afghanistan accounted for more than half of the terror attacks that took place across the globe in 2015, a US official has said.
"More than 55 percent of all attacks took place in five countries, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria,"
Acting US Coordinator for Counterterrorism Justin Siberell told reporters in a news conference yesterday.
"And 74 percent of all deaths due to terrorist attacks took place in five countries, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Syria," he said, adding the figures are based on the data compiled by the University of Maryland.
Although terror attacks took place in 92 countries in 2015, they were heavily concentrated geographically, as they have been for the past several years, Siberell said.
The total number of terrorist attacks in 2015 decreased by 13 percent as compared to 2014, he said while releasing the annual Country Reports on Terrorism.
"Total fatalities due to terrorist attacks decreased by 14 per cent, principally as a result of fewer attacks and deaths in Iraq, Pakistan, and Nigeria. This represents the first decline in total terrorist attacks and resulting fatalities worldwide since 2012," the official said.
"At the same time, there were several countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey, where terrorist attacks and total deaths increased in 2015," he added.
The United States and its partners around the world face a significant challenge as they seek to contend with the return of foreign terror fighting forces from Iraq and Syria, the risk of terrorist groups exploiting migratory movements, and new technology and communications platforms that enable terrorist groups to more easily recruit adherents and inspire attacks.
"ISIL (ISIS) remains the greatest terrorism threat globally. Despite the losses it sustained last year. ISIL continued to occupy large areas of Iraq and Syria," Siberell said.
ISIL's territorial control in Iraq and Syria reached a high point in spring 2015 and began to diminish thereafter, he said, adding, it is worth noting that they did not have a significant battlefield victory in Iraq after May last year year and by the end of 2015, 40 percent of their territory in Iraq had been liberated.
This number has continued to increase in 2016, he said.
Responding to a question, Siberell said the number of terrorist attacks in Pakistan decreased in 2015 as compared to 2014, which was a particularly violent year in Pakistan.
"The Pakistani government undertook a robust response against a number of militant groups and throughout that end of 2014 into 2015," he said.
"Pakistan is a key counterterrorism partner and we have an ongoing conversation with the Pakistani government for the need to address militant activities in Pakistan and it will remain a key partner in confronting terrorism in the South Asia region," Siberell said.