01 July 2011

Terrorism in North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia

CSIS analysts Anthony Cordesman (The Burke Chair in Strategy) and Andrew C. Gagel used data from the National Counter Terrorism Center’s (NCTC) World Wide Incidents Tracking System (WITS) to examine patterns of terrorist attacks in North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia from 2007-2010. Because the data end in 2010, the authors note, they do not reflect the wave of instability and unrest that swept through the region this Spring.

North Africa:

Algeria was the main hot spot for terrorism in North Africa. Most of the attacks were committed by militant extremists who are - or aspire to be - affiliated with al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). AQIM's momentum is also creating a regional threat to SubSaharan Africa as well.

Middle East:

Terrorism in the Middle East is more ubiquitous and more diverse. Terrorist actors include semi-secular movements, Sunni and Shi’a extremist groups, and Jewish extremist groups. Their violence is committed in Israel, Gaza, Lebanon, the West Bank, and, Iraq. Al-Qa’ida and its affiliates have driven much of the region's violence, but Hamas and the Islamic State of Iraq/Mujahideen Shura Council have contributed significantly as well, especially in Gaza an Iraq.

In southern Turkey, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) continues to be an active source of terrorist violence. Within the Southern Gulf region, overall terrorist activity was lower, but most of the area's attacks occurred in Yemen and were linked to al-Qa’ida in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP).

Central & South Asia

Terrorist activity in the Af/Pak region accounted for much of the Central/South Asian terrorist violence from 2007-1010. In Afghanistan, Taliban drove much of the violence (which was most pronounced in Helmand and the Af/Pak border region) and killed, injured or kidnapped more indigenous Afghans during that time period than any other group. In Pakistan, the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) were responsible for most the most of known attacks and deaths there.

India was affected by a number of terrorist actors (both foreign and indigenous), but violence was driven principally by militant Islamists and Maoists. Groups with links to Pakistan were clearly the most dangerous. Continuing terrorist violence in Sri Lanka was mostly linked to ethnic civil conflicts.

You can read the full report HERE.

Patterns in Terrorism in North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia: 2007-2010. By Andrew C. Gagel and Anthony H. Cordesman. CSIS.