No amount of US intervention and troops on the ground has rescued Afghanistan and its capital Kabul, the world’s most dangerous place in our list. Bomb attacks on hotels and embassies are common place with the security forces struggling to restore some semblance of order. The Taliban are gaining ground. When the state’s writ ends 10 kilometres from Kabul today, what will happen in 2014 when the US troops fly out of the country?
By Ajith Vijay Kumar
2. Mogadishu, Somalia
Until recently, Somalia’s capital Mogadishu was undisputedly the world’s most dangerous city. The UN and embassies had pulled out in the 1990s, following the collapse of the last fully functioning government in 1991. Al Qaeda linked militants held sway over much of the city from 2007 until last August when African Union fighters pushed out al-Shabab, ending the daily grind of war.
3. Baghdad, Iraq
After being the world’s most dangerous place for years immediately after the US invasion, Baghdad has calmed down, just a bit. After the withdrawal of military forces from Iraq, Baghdad suffers from a very unstable political climate. Years of bombings and counter bombings have destroyed most of the city’s infrastructure. Intermittent suicide bombings, random gunfire and roadside bombs continue to wreak havoc on the hapless citizens of the city by the Tigris.
4. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Mexico is a drug haven and the city of Ciudad Juarez is its unofficial capital. Drug traffickers are notoriously violent and do pretty much whatever they want. With police mostly corrupt, Ciudad Juarez is known as one of the most violent places in the world outside of war zones.
5. Abidjan, Ivory Coast
After years of mindless violence between warring factions, security situation in Abidjan has somewhat improved, lately. The arrest of former president Laurent Gbagbo and ceding of power to duly elected President Alassane Ouattara was the turning point. However, with tension simmering below the surface, Abidjan continues to be a dangerous place.
8. Caracas, Venezuela
Venezuelan capital Caracas is a drug trafficking haven. Robbery and petty crimes are commonplace with police having very little say or will to control the situation.
6. Sana’a, Yemen
Yemen, especially its capital Sana’a, is extremely unstable following last year’s uprising against former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. With al Qaeda`s Yemeni wing and local affiliates having established presence in the region, there has been a string of assassinations of security officials. The US and its Gulf allies brokered a power transfer that replaced Saleh with his deputy, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. He launched a US-backed offensive on Islamists in the south, but situation is still far from normal.
7. Peshawar, Pakistan
The frontier city of Pakistan is one of the most dangerous places in the world. With warlords and tribes fighting for supremacy, the city is very unsafe, especially for foreigners. Suicide bombings and targeted attack on security forces being the norm, Peshawar is slowly sinking into the abyss.
9. Nairobi, Kenya
With al Shabaab militants threatening to launch attacks during the holy month of Ramazan, Kenya, especially Nairobi is tense. Also, incidences of street crime are very high in the city. Night time travel in the city is very unsafe with mugging and looting being a routine affair.
10. Cape Town, South Africa
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Cape Town is also a city that is battling extremely high crime rates. Prone to mugging, it is one of the most unsafe cities at night, especially for women. The high level of crime is attributed to the disparity between socioeconomic classes.