Terrorism Breakdown, Part 1
All of this is from the Global Terrorism Database, and
unless stated otherwise, everything is from the 2015 numbers, because the 2016
dataset isn’t out yet.
Countries with at least 100 attacks
- Iraq (2743)
- Afghanistan (1926)
- Pakistan (1235)
- India (882)
- Philippines (717)
- Yemen (668)
- Ukraine* (637)
- Nigeria (637)
- Egypt (582)
- Libya (542)
- Syria (485)
- Bangladesh (465)
- Turkey (416)
- Somalia (407)
- Thailand (277)
- West Bank and Gaza Strip (247)
- Sudan (158)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo (141)
- Colombia (135)
- Mali (120)
- United Kingdom** (115)
- Saudi Arabia (103)
Attacks in the countries with the most attacks
Attacks in Iraq are predominantly bombings. Of the 2743 attacks in 2015, approximately 2200 were bombings. Baghdad, which sees close to half the bombings (over 900), has primarily bombs that are categorized as unknown explosive type, many of which are set off in shops, markets, or other crowded areas. A lot of these are what people would often term generally as IEDs, even if they don’t fit any technical definition of that term.
Al Anbar has almost as many vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) aka car bombs as Baghdad, so a much higher proportion of the bombings in Al Anbar are VBIEDs. The other governates in Iraq that faced more than 100 attacks in the year are Babil, Diyala, Kirkuk, Nineveh (Ninawa), and Saladin (Salah ad Din). Nineveh is particularly notable because its capital is Mosul.
Relatively few (<10%) of the attacks in Iraq are projectile explosives (rockets, mortars, RPGs, etc.), except for in Al Anbar. There are also relatively few (<10%) gun attacks there, though about a third of the ones that do happen do so in Baghdad.
Bombings make up about 40% of the attacks in Afghanistan. Of those, by far the highest number (>200) are from landmines, in large part because Afghanistan was seeded with a huge number of landmines, particularly during the Soviet invasion. The Taliban frequently moves landmines from those minefields to roadsides, occasionally blowing themselves up in the process.
While there are VBIEDs in Afghanistan, they make up a much smaller proportion of the bombings in the country (about 13% as opposed to about 23%). Proportionally much more common in Afghanistan (almost a third of the attacks) are armed assaults, primarily perpetrated using firearms. Kidnappings are also much more prominent.
The provinces in Afghanistan that faced more than 100 attacks in the year were Ghazni, Helmand, Herat, Kabul, Kandahar, and Nangarhar.
About half of the attacks in Pakistan are bombings. While about half of those bombings are of unknown explosive type, the remaining ones are primarily remote triggered, landmines, grenades, and projectile explosives. There are very few VBIEDs in Pakistan. The projectile explosives are centered heavily in Balochistan, while grenades are more spread.
About a quarter of the attacks are armed assaults, primarily perpetrated using firearms. While armed assaults occur with relative frequency in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh, bombings occur most frequently in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Overall, those four provinces are the ones that have the bulk of the attacks (over 100 in each), with virtually no attacks occurring anywhere else except Punjab, which had 63.
Approximately 45% of India’s attacks are bombings. About 25% of those bombings were grenade, with the majority remaining being of unknown explosive types. Many of the remaining attacks in India are armed assaults perpetrated using firearms. Of the other remaining attacks, most are split between attacks on facilities/infrastructure and kidnappings. Facility/infrastructure attacks are mostly done through arson, while kidnappings are primarily perpetrated using guns.
In India, only Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Manipur had more than 100 attacks in 2015. Over a third of facility/infrastructure attacks happened in Chhattisgarh, while bombings happen primarily in Chhattisgarh and Manipur, with a slightly lower number occurring in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand. Jammu and Kashmir had nearly a third of the armed assaults. Jammu and Kashmir, however, had nearly zero kidnappings, with those split primarily between Chhattisgarh, Manipur, and Meghalaya.
*It’s complicated whether you count any of the fighting in Ukraine as terrorism.
**103 of these 115 attacks were in Northern Ireland.