Attrition: Patterns Of Terrorism Deaths In South Asia


January 11, 2011:  South Asia (including Afghanistan) is where most of the Islamic terrorism violence is these days, but the violence is distributed in ways often misunderstood in the West.

Although there have been fewer suicide bombings in 2010 (26) than in 2009 (47) in Pakistan, the blasts were deadlier. About the same number of people were killed by suicide bombers in the two years (503 and 489). Suicide and just plain terrorist bombs were the main form of attack by terrorists in Pakistan last year. Overall, terrorist related deaths declined 37 percent from 2009 to 2010. There were 11,704 terrorism related deaths in 2009, versus 7,435 last year, and in both years, terrorists were about 70 percent of the dead, with about ten percent of the dead security forces and 20 percent civilians. It was in 2009 that the army went into the tribal territories to take on the Taliban. The heavy fighting broke the back of the Taliban, who retreated to North Waziristan (where the Pakistani Army would not go) or Baluchistan (where the government has more control, and large scale terrorist operations are discouraged by the police and the local Baluchi tribes, who have their own agenda).

Terrorism related deaths in Afghanistan were about the same as in Pakistan. There were about 1,500 security forces deaths (including 711 foreign troops), about 1,600 civilian deaths and over 5,300 Taliban deaths.

India, in contrast, suffered 70 percent fewer deaths in 2010 from terrorism than did Pakistan, and most of Indian deaths were caused by communist rebels, not Islamic radicals. There was hardly any terrorist activity in Sri Lanka, Nepal or Bangladesh.




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