Special Report

Countries Hit Hardest By Terrorists

The U.S. regularly announces sanctions against people and businesses that it believes are providing material support to terrorists operating worldwide. Since October, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has announced a string of such sanctions, targeting support to terrorist groups operating in East Africa and Yemen.

The move targets companies believed to be helping the Islamic State in Somalia obtain arms and other forms of material support. This is the first economic sanction against ISIS-Somalia, an affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which is expanding its operations in Africa following defeats in Iraq and Syria.

The continent’s Sahel region has become a global hot zone for terrorist activities in recent years. The Sahel is a vast zone of 10 countries stretching from Mauritania in the west to Eritrea in the east, the northernmost 10 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Half of Sahel countries are among the world’s hardest hit by terrorism and half of the 20 countries hit hardest by terrorism are in Africa. (Despite being hit by terrorism, many of these countries are among the fastest growing countries in the world.)

To find the 35 countries hit hardest by terrorism, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Vision of Humanity’s Global Terrorism Index 2022. The index ranks 163 countries on the impact of terrorism, using a composite score based on terrorist incidents, fatalities, injuries, and hostages. Each country is scored on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 represents no impact from terrorism and 10 represents the highest impact. 

Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia continue to lead the world in the frequency and fatality of terrorist acts. Other high-ranking countries include Chile, Colombia, Pakistan, and the Philippines. A newcomer to this somber list is Myanmar, where last year’s military coup spurred a jump in acts of terrorism from anti-government groups. (Many of these countries are also on the list of countries the U.S. government doesn’t want you to go to.)

Overall, death caused by acts of terrorism declined last year compared to 2020 despite the fact that the number of attacks increased by 17%, to 5,226, largely as a result of terrorist acts in the Sahel, Afghanistan, and Myanmar.

It is important to underscore there is no universally agreed-upon definition of terrorism. The Institute for Economic & Peace, which created the report and ranked the countries, defines terrorism as the use of violence in support of, or in opposition to, established authority, with the intention of communicating a political, religious, or ideological message by generating fear in an attempt to alter societal behavior.

This definition excludes acts of violence such as typical mass shooting incidents in the U.S. perpetuated by lone and deranged gunmen as well as drug-cartel violence in Mexico and other countries.

Here are the countries hit hardest by terrorism.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

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