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The Situation of Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Global Terrorism Index

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The global dimension of terrorism brings with it the fact that countries are seriously affected by various acts of violence and radical movements. In particular, geographies where ethnic-sectarian divisions are triggered and where armed separatist groups operate intensively are more prominent and seen as areas that produce threats. At this point, the annual reports of the Global Terrorism Index are important in order to follow the main trend of violence in terrorism.

The Global Terrorism Index 2023 Report, prepared by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics and Peace using various data, was published on 14 March 2023.  The report, which includes terrorism-related deaths, injuries, violent incidents, and attacks, also includes the ranking of countries. In 2022, it is seen that South Asia stands out as the geography where the deadliest groups in the world are located.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are notable for being the region where the so-called Emirate of Khorasan (ISKP) and the Balochistan Liberation Army (Balochistan Liberation Army), the most affected and deadliest groups by terrorism, are the most affected and deadliest groups by terrorism. As a matter of fact, it is known that since the withdrawal of the United States of America (USA) from Afghanistan, the tendency to violence, the mobility of radical groups and terrorist activities have increased in the region. The resulting power vacuum has encouraged various structures to operate more widely and increase their effectiveness. When the report data is examined, it is understood that this situation is confirmed.

The report found that approximately 66,000 terrorist incidents occurred between 2007 and 2022; It is stated that the deaths due to terrorism in 2022 decreased by 9% to 6,701. The peak period of these deaths was 2015 with a rate of 38%.[1] Afghanistan and Pakistan are among the 10 countries most affected by terrorism. While Afghanistan is at the top; Pakistan ranks sixth. Afghanistan has been the country most affected by terrorism for the fourth consecutive year, despite attacks and deaths falling by 75% and 58%, respectively.[2]

In Pakistan, there has been  a significant increase in the rate of terrorism. Pakistan ranks first in the list of the deadliest attacks in 2022.  On February 2, 2022, 195 people were killed in attacks by the Balochistan Liberation Army. The eighth attack in the same list is the suicide attack carried out by the ISKP in the Pakhtunkhwa region.[3]

Furthermore, there were an estimated 643 terrorist-related deaths in the country in 2022, an increase of 120% compared to the previous year. The increase in the mobility of the Balochistan Liberation Army has led to the fact that this organization has been characterized as the fastest growing group in the world. Because it has been determined that there has been a 9-fold increase in the attacks of the Balochistan Liberation Army in 2022. The organization caused the death of a total of 233 people.[4]

One statement in the report is that the number of casualties decreased by 28% to 3,955, largely due to the decline in the intensity of the conflict in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Likewise, it is stated that the deaths due to terrorism in Afghanistan have decreased by 58%.[5] However, it is known that there are still conflicts and attacks in the region.

As a matter of fact, the ISKP’s attacks have developed to such an extent that Afghanistan has become one of the top ten countries in the deadliest attacks. The ISKP caused 498 deaths in 141 attacks and the ISKP became the 3rd deadliest organization of 2022.

The organization has carried out critical attacks on several targets in the country, including minorities, ethnic groups, embassies, and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Finally, on March 9, 2023, the group attacked, the Taliban’s governor of Balkh, Mohammad Dawood Muzamil. With the attack, Muzamil was the most senior official of the Taliban who was attacked and killed since he came to power in the country. The Taliban’s strategy of turning to high-ranking figures reveals that Daesh prioritizes individual attacks as a new target group after diplomatic missions.

Another deadly organization of the region is the terrorist organization TTP, which caused 137 deaths in 90 attacks. This ratio has positioned the TTP in the 8th place in the list of the deadliest organizations. Currently, the TTP has become Pakistan’s biggest security challenge. As reflected in the figures, the increase in attacks in the country on the one hand poses a threat to national security; On the other hand, it is also negatively affecting Taliban-Pakistan relations.  Because one of the main reasons for the tensions between the purgatory is the TTP.  In the short term, there is no talk of a negotiation process between the Government of Pakistan and the TTP. Therefore, it can be predicted that the trend of violence will continue, and this will be reflected in Pakistan’s relations with the Taliban.

However, it is seen that the mobility of Baluch groups, which affect the instability of the Balochistan region, will continue to increase. It can be said that these two factors will continue to be decisive in terms of the Pakistani security mechanism and their negative reflections on foreign relations.

The changes in the activities and attack methods of the ISKP indicate that the fight against the ISKP terrorist organization will continue in both countries. The organization is demonstrating its effectiveness by deepening ethnic sectarian divisions, targeting diplomatic representations of countries that have established a dialogue with the Taliban, and launching attacks on Taliban representatives in order to undermine the Taliban’s presence in the country.

As a result, it is seen that the change in the global index data caused by the developments centered in Afghanistan and Pakistan is significant. This situation makes the security environment in this geography fragile. It may also adversely affect the international outlook towards the region. However, the increase in the effectiveness of these organizations may also trigger the development of regional cooperation mechanisms. There are already attempts to address this. Therefore, some steps can be taken to strengthen existing partnerships or to take action for new mechanisms in terms of establishing regional security.


[1] “Global Terrosim Index-2023”, Reliefweb, https://reliefweb.int/report/world/global-terrorism-index-2023, (Date of Accession: 21.03.2023).

[2] “Afghanistan Most Impacted by Terrorism: Global Terrorism Index”, Times of India, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/afghanistan-most-impacted-by-terrorism-global-terrorism-index-report/articleshow/98650136.cms, (Date of Accession: 21.03.2023).

[3] “Global Terrosim…”, a.g.r., s. 10.

[4] “Global Terrosim…”, a.g.r., s. 4.

[5] Ibid.

Şeyma KIZILAY
Şeyma KIZILAY
Şeyma KIZILAY, 2016 yılında Erciyes Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, 2019 yılında Kırşehir Ahi Evran Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda sunduğu ‘’Uluslararası İlişkilerde Ulus İnşası Bağlamında Irak Örneği” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Doktora eğitimine Uludağ Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda devam eden Kızılay, tez aşamasındadır. Başlıca çalışma alanları; güvenlik, terörizm, Afganistan ve Pakistan’dır. Kızılay, iyi derecede İngilizce ve orta seviyede Arapça bilmektedir.