South Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan at Top of Terrorism Ranking

New research has rated the fledgling state of South Sudan in the top five countries most at risk from terrorist attacks after Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan, while data also reveals that terrorism is on the increase globally.

The latest Terrorism Risk Index (TRI), released by risk analysis and mapping firm Maplecroft, rates 20 countries and territories as ‘extreme risk’, with Somalia (1), Pakistan (2), Iraq (3), Afghanistan (4) once again topping the ranking. The ‘extreme risk’ category also includes: South Sudan (5), Yemen (6), Palestinian Occupied Territories (7), DR Congo (8) Central African Republic (9), Colombia (10), Algeria (11), Thailand (12), Philippines (13), Russia (14), Sudan (15), Iran (16), Burundi (17), India (18), Nigeria (19) and Israel (20).

The TRI has been developed by Maplecroft to enable business to identify and monitor the risks posed by terrorism to employees and assets in 197 countries. The index draws on the latest and most comprehensive data available to calculate the frequency and lethality of terrorist incidents over the 12-month period prior to 1 April 2011. The TRI also includes a historical component assessing the number of attacks over five years and assesses risks relating to countries’ geographic proximity to terrorist hotspots.

Following the country’s formal secession from Sudan in July 2011, South Sudan (5) makes its first appearance in the Terrorism Risk Index. The country is rated as ‘extreme risk’ primarily due to the intensity of terrorist attacks, with an average of 6.59 fatalities per terrorist incident, almost three times that of Somalia at 2.23.

Despite ranking fifth in the index, South Sudan’s death toll of 211 from terrorist attacks pales in comparison to the top four countries. Over the same period Somalia suffered 1,385 deaths, Pakistan 2,163 deaths, Iraq 3,456 deaths and Afghanistan 3,423 deaths, which together account for over 75% of the world’s 13,492 fatalities.

Looking at the year on year data, Maplecroft’s research also reveals that the number of terrorist attacks rose by approximately 15% globally, with 11,954 incidents between April 2010 and March 2011, compared to 10394 from April 2009 to March 31st 2010. However, there was a decrease in fatalities falling to 13,492 from 14,478.

Significantly the TRI also reveals that the number of terrorist incidents in Afghanistan increased by over 50% over the same period, rising from 2246 attacks in 2009/10 to 3,470 in 2010/11. The growing number of attacks will be a particular concern at a time when NATO allies are seeking to reduce troop numbers and increasingly hand over security to Afghan forces.

None of the major Western economies fall within the ‘high’ or ‘extreme risk’ bracket. However, the UK (38) is rated ‘medium risk,’ and ranked highest out of these countries. This is due to the deteriorating security conditions in Northern Ireland, where there was a general increase in the number of terrorist attacks. In contrast, the US is ranked 61 and ‘low risk.’

Western countries meanwhile remain concerned about the continued risk posed by radical Islam and the prospect of future attacks on Western interests at home and overseas. “The killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden by US Navy SEALs in May has helped US intelligence target senior members and affiliates of the network,” said Anthony Skinner, an associate director at Maplecroft. “Nonetheless, al-Qaeda has in the past proven its ability to adapt and poses a continuous threat to the West.”


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