Statistically less likely: Smoke rising from the Westgate mall during terror attack in Nairobi, Kenya in September 2013. Photo: AFP
Washington: While the total number of terrorist attacks around the world has been steadily rising, it is also an increasingly concentrated phenomenon.
New data released this week by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism based at the University of Maryland shows that just three countries for the year 2012 - Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan - accounted for 54 percent of attacks and 58 percent of fatalities that year. India, Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and Thailand were the next five most frequently targeted.
All in all, there were 8400 terrorist attacks killing more than 15,400, both record numbers, though some of this may be due to improvements in data collection. The data also shows that the post-Osama bin Laden al-Qaeda Central seems to be largely a spent force in the world, but al-Qaeda offshoots continue to wreak havoc.
These include the Taliban (more than 2500 fatalities), Boko Haram (more than 1200 fatalities), al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (more than 960 fatalities), Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (more than 950 fatalities), al-Qaeda in Iraq (more than 930 fatalities) and al-Shabab (more than 700 fatalities).
I imagine the numbers for Shabab and Boko Haram may have increased in 2013, but it’s still worth noting that terrorism is both increasingly common in general, yet still extremely rare for the vast majority of the world.
Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international news, social science and related topics.