DEVELOPING STATISTICAL INFORMATION
The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) was created in 2004 to ensure, in part, that U.S. government agencies have appropriate access to and receive the intelligence necessary to accomplish their assigned missions. NCTC is the U.S. government's central and shared knowledge bank on international terrorism and, in this capacity, NCTC provides the Department of State with statistical information to assist it in completing the annual Country Reports on Terrorism (CRT).
Title 22, Section 2656f of the United States Code (U.S.C.) requires the Department of State to include in its annual report, "to the extent practicable, complete statistical information on the number of individuals, including United States citizens and dual nationals, killed, injured, or kidnapped by each terrorist group during the preceding calendar year." In compiling the figures of terrorist incidents that are included in the CRT, NCTC uses the definition of terrorism found in Title 22, which provides that terrorism is "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents." (See, 22 U.S.C. § 2656f(d)).
NCTC maintains its statistical information on the U.S. government's authoritative and unclassified database on terrorist acts, the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System (WITS). The primary function of WITS is to provide terrorism statistics to the Department of State for preparation of its annual report. WITS uses a well-defined methodology that involves documented coding practices for categorizing and enumerating relevant statistics. WITS is accessible on the NCTC Web site, www.nctc.gov, providing the public with a transparent view of the NCTC data. The data posted to the website is updated on a quarterly basis, pursuant to a rigorous 90-day review and vetting process.
The statistical material in this unclassified report is drawn from terrorism incidents that occurred in 2011, as reported in open source information. This open source material is the most comprehensive resource that NCTC can use to compile and provide the statistical data necessary for the Department of State to fulfill its legislative reporting requirements.
While open source material provides an unparalleled expanse of information, the credibility of sources may vary. For example, the ability of WITS to provide specific details on incident victims, the perpetrators responsible, or the extent of the damage incurred is limited by access to reliable open-source reporting. Additionally, annual comparisons of the total number of global attacks do not indicate the international community's rate of effectiveness at preventing attacks or reducing terrorist capacity.
As such, this Annex is provided for general statistical purposes only. Observations made on this statistical material relating to the frequency, intensity, or nature of the incidents are offered only as part of the analytic work of NCTC and may not reflect the assessments of other U.S. government departments and agencies. Nothing in this report should be construed as a determination that individuals associated with incidents have been found guilty of terrorism or criminal offense.
The reader is encouraged to use this Annex as a guide to review publicly reported annual terrorist activity. Tracking terrorist incidents helps to understand important characteristics, patterns, and trends that surround terrorism, and helps to advance analysis and research. The ultimate goal in following incidents as they occur, however, is to maintain global awareness of the persistent threat terrorism poses and the critical need to secure its defeat.
INCIDENTS OF TERRORISM, WORLDWIDE*
|Attacks resulting in at least 1 death, injury, or kidnapping||11,085||8,361||7,874||8,259||7,453|
|Attacks resulting in the death of at least 10 individuals||353||234||236||193||193|
|Attacks resulting in the death of at least 1 individual||7,229||5,040||4,761||4,704||4,502|
|Attacks resulting in the death of only 1 individual||3,982||2,870||2,695||2,691||2,550|
|Attacks resulting in the death of 0 individuals||7,186||6,623||6,207||6,937||5,781|
|Attacks resulting in the injury of at least 1 individual||6,231||4,831||4,530||4,724||4,333|
|Attacks resulting in the kidnapping of at least 1 individual||1,156||948||882||1,118||795|
|People killed, injured or kidnapped as a result of terrorism, worldwide||71,803||54,290||58,720||49,928||43,990|
|People killed as a result of terrorism, worldwide||22,720||15,709||15,311||13,193||12,533|
|People injured as a result of terrorism, worldwide||44,103||33,901||32,660||30,684||25,903|
|People kidnapped as a result of terrorism, worldwide||4,980||4,680||10,749||6,051||5,554|
INCIDENTS OF TERRORISM IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN *
|Attacks in Iraq||6,210||3,255||2,458||2,687||2,265|
|Attacks in Iraq resulting in at least 1 death, injury, or kidnapping||5,575||2,900||2,179||2,358||2,158|
|People killed, injured, or kidnapped as a result of terrorism in Iraq||44,014||19,077||16,869||15,108||12,192|
|Attacks in Afghanistan||1,122||1,219||2,124||3,346||2,872|
|Attacks in Afghanistan resulting in at least 1 death, injury, or kidnapping||889||950||1,451||2,060||1,846|
|People killed, injured, or kidnapped as a result of terrorism in Afghanistan||4,647||5,488||7,588||9,035||9,171|
Attacks are limited to attacks against noncombatant targets. Numbers represented in table for 2007 through 2010 have been updated since the 2010 publication and are based on data in the Worldwide Incidents Tracking Systems www.nctc.gov.
Over 10,000 terrorist attacks occurred in 2011, affecting nearly 45,000 victims in 70 countries and resulting in over 12,500 deaths. The total number of worldwide attacks in 2011, however, dropped by almost 12 percent from 2010 and nearly 29 percent from 2007. Although the 2011 numbers represent five-year lows, they also underscore the human toll and geographic reach of terrorism. The Near East and South Asia continued to experience the most attacks, incurring just over 75 percent of the 2011 total. In addition, Africa and the Western Hemisphere experienced five-year highs in the number of attacks, exhibiting the constant evolution of the terrorist threat.
Sunni extremists accounted for the greatest number of terrorist attacks and fatalities for the third consecutive year. More than 5,700 incidents were attributed to Sunni extremists, accounting for nearly 56 percent of all attacks and about 70 percent of all fatalities. Among this perpetrator group, al-Qa‘ida (AQ) and its affiliates were responsible for at least 688 attacks that resulted in almost 2,000 deaths, while the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan conducted over 800 attacks that resulted in nearly 1, 900 deaths. Secular, political, and anarchist groups were the next largest category of perpetrators, conducting 2,283 attacks with 1,926 fatalities, a drop of 5 percent and 9 percent, respectively, from 2010.
Notable 2011 Sunni Extremist Attacks Cataloged in WITS:
Other Notable Attacks Cataloged in WITS:
Types of Attacks
Armed attacks and bombings constituted nearly 80 percent of all terrorist attacks in 2011. Suicide attacks accounted for just 2.7 percent of terrorist attacks last year but 21 percent of all terrorism-related fatalities, a fact that underscores their extreme lethality. IEDs were the most frequently used and deadliest terrorist weapon employed.
Victims of Attacks
Over 12,000 people were killed by terrorist attacks in 2011. The overall number of victims killed, however, decreased 5 percent from 2010. More than half of the people killed in 2011 were civilians and 755 were children. Although terrorism deaths decreased, the number of government representative and security force fatalities increased significantly. Muslims continued to bear the brunt of terrorism , while attacks targeting Christians dropped nearly 4 5 percent from a five-year high in 2010.
Attacks against Facilities
Over two-thirds of all terrorist attacks struck infrastructure or facilities. Of those, transportation assets and public places were the most frequently targeted. Transportation facilities -- such as vehicles, buses and transportation infrastructure -- incurred damage in about 27 percent of the attacks, while public places -- including communal areas, markets, polling stations, religious institutions , schools and residences -- incurred damage in about 21 percent of the attacks.