Afghan, Pak witness about 1/3 of total global terror attacks

S Asia is more violent than Middle East, says a US counter-terror official.

Washington: Afghanistan and Pakistan account for about a third of the total global terrorist attacks, a top US counter-terror official has said.

"Afghanistan and Pakistan, they account together for about a third of the total global attacks. And here again, the heat map, the region immediately adjacent to the Af-Pak border has been where most of the attacks have occurred," Russ Travers, Deputy Director, national Counter terrorism Centre, said at a State Department news conference here.

India, he said, witnessed growth in the numbers, however, they were largely because of the Maoist attacks.

"We didn`t see anything like the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) or India mujaheddin attacks that we had seen in 2008," he said.

Overall, the Middle East and South Asia account for about 75 percent of the total terrorist incidents. But with the substantial decline in the number of terrorist attacks in the Middle East, South Asia tops the list, mainly because of the volatile situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Travers said.

"South Asia has proven to be more violent than the Middle East," he said.

"Within the total global totals, three countries drive the numbers. Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan account for about 60 percent of total attacks and fatalities," he added.

Pakistan for the first time has surpassed Iraq in terms of number of terrorist attacks, Travers said during a power point presentation.

"For the first time, Pakistan slightly surpassed Iraq in terms of the large-scale attacks; that is, attacks in which more than 10 people were killed, and also surpassed Iraq in terms of the number of suicide bombings," he said.

"We saw numerous large-scale attacks coordinated: the Pearl Continental Hotel, the Sri Lankan cricket team, ISI buildings, police cantonments, so a substantial number of combined attacks by militants in Pakistan.”

“We also saw and continue to see a growth in the attacks in the settled areas so that in 2005 in was what used to be called the Northwest Frontier Province, we had 16 attacks; last year, we had 940, increased by a factor of 50 over last several years," Traverse said.

In the case of Afghanistan, there is a pretty substantial increase this past year: 2,100 attacks, almost 7,000 casualties; that is, fatalities and people that are wounded, Travers said.

"In Sri Lanka and the Philippines, both countries` attacks were down substantially, though the Maguindanao massacre in which I think 34 press members lost their lives, by far the most significant attack on the press that we`ve ever seen, at least that we`ve ever catalogued," Traverse said.


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