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Homeland Security

Country Reports on Terrorism 2006

National Counterterrorism Center: Annex of Statistical Information

April 13, 2007


Consistent with its statutory mission to serve as the U.S. Government's knowledge bank on international terrorism, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) is providing the Department of State with required statistical information to assist in the satisfaction of its reporting requirements under Section 2656f of title 22 of the U.S. Code. The statistical information included in this Annex to the 2006 Country Reports on Terrorism is drawn from the data NCTC maintains on the www.nctc.gov website.

Section 2656f(b) of Title 22 of the U.S. Code requires the State Department to include in its annual report on terrorism "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." While NCTC keeps statistics on the annual number of incidents of "terrorism," its ability to track the specific groups responsible for each incident involving killings, kidnappings, and injuries is significantly limited by the availability of reliable open source information, particularly for events involving small numbers of casualties. Moreover, specific details about victims, damage, perpetrators, and other incident elements are frequently not fully reported in open source information.

  • The statistical material in this report, therefore, is drawn from the incidents of "terrorism" that occurred in 2006 as reported in open sources information, which is the most comprehensive body of information available to NCTC for compiling data that it can provide to satisfy the above-referenced statistical requirements.

In deriving its figures for incidents of terrorism, NCTC in 2005 adopted the definition of "terrorism" that appears in the 22 U.S.C. 2656f(d)(2), i.e., "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents."

  • Through 2004 NCTC compiled statistical data on the basis of a more limited methodology tied to the definition of "international terrorism," which is also contained in 22 U.S.C. 2656f.
  • Because of the change in methodology, 2006 data is only comparable to 2005 data compiled by NCTC, the highlights of which are contained in the 2005 Country Reports on Terrorism.
  • Subject to changes in reporting statutes, NCTC anticipates that future statistics provided by it will continue to be tied to the broader definition of "terrorism."

To record and update incident records NCTC has continued to post information in the repository for the U.S. Government's database on terrorist incidents, the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System (WITS) that was unveiled in 2005. A data management system with a more comprehensive dataset than those used in previous years, WITS is accessible on the NCTC website at www.nctc.gov for the public to have an open and transparent view of the NCTC data. NCTC will insure that the data posted to the website is updated as often as necessary by regularly posting information about new or prior incidents.

Considerations for Interpreting the Data

NCTC cautions against placing too much emphasis on any single set of incident data to gauge success or failure against the forces of terrorism. Furthermore, NCTC does not believe that a simple comparison of the total number of incidents from year to year provides a meaningful measure.

  • Tallying incident data necessarily involves relying exclusively on frequently incomplete and ambiguous information-information for these statistics is not derived from federal government collection programs created or operated specifically to obtain incidents data. The quality, accuracy, and volume of incident open source reporting can vary greatly from country to country. As a result, determining whether an incident meets the NCTC criteria for a terrorist incident is often difficult and highly subjective. This is particularly true if the incident does not involve mass casualties because little information is typically available on these incidents that usually are not subject to heavy media coverage. Furthermore, in the parts of the world where there is little press coverage and little non-governmental organization presence, terrorist incidents go unreported.
  • Incident tallies exclusively do not provide a complete picture of the magnitude or seriousness of the terrorism challenge confronting a country or region. For example, that 50 percent of the incidents in the NCTC database involve no loss of life would be only one factor for assessing the danger of terrorism globally. Moreover, different factors weigh more heavily than others in assessing the dangers posed by terrorism. For example, an attack that kills 100 civilians is likely to be considered more alarming than an attack that damages a pipeline but harms no one; however, each attack is simply tallied as one incident.
  • Counting protocols matter and inevitably require judgment calls that may have an impact on results. For example, NCTC protocols dictate that events identified as simultaneous and coordinated would be recorded as one incident, as would be attacks that subsequently targeted first-responders. For instance, on the morning of August 17, 2005, there were approximately 450 small bomb attacks in Bangladesh, and because they were coordinated according to a central plan, NCTC counted them as a single incident. Other valid counting protocols would register these attacks as 450 separate attacks.
  • Analyzing incident data from year-to-year to identify trends and notable deviations in the data is problematic, and not meaningful in most cases. The availability, quality, and depth of open source reporting vary making it hard to isolate whether a rise or fall of a particular data element from one year to the next is due to an increase or decrease of this open source reporting or whether actual events are behind the change in the data.

Despite these limitations, tracking and analyzing incidents can help us understand some important characteristics about terrorism, including the geographic distribution of incidents and information about the perpetrators, their victims, and other details about an attack. Year-to-year changes in the gross number of incidents across the globe, however, may tell us little about the international community's effectiveness either for preventing these incidents, or for reducing the capacity of terrorists to advance their agenda through violence against the innocent.

Methodology Utilized to Compile NCTC's Database of Terrorist Incidents

For compiling 2005 results, NCTC, working with a panel of terrorism experts, adopted a revised methodology for counting terrorist incidents, basing it on the broader statutory definition of "terrorism" rather than that of "international terrorism,"1 on which the NCTC based its incident counting in previous years. For 2006, we continued using this broader definition of "terrorism" and overall this broader definition and improvements in cataloging have resulted in a larger, more comprehensive set of incident data, all of which can now be found on NCTC's website, www.nctc.gov.

The data provided on the website is based on the statutory definition set forth in the Developing Statistical Information section to this Annex. Accordingly, the incidents NCTC has catalogued in the database are those that, based on available open source information, meet the criteria for "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents." Determination of what constitutes an incident of terrorism, however, is sometimes based on incomplete information and may be open to interpretation. The perpetrator's specific motivation, whether political or otherwise, is not always clear, nor is the perpetrator's identity always evident. Moreover, additional information may become available over time, affecting the accuracy of initial judgments about incidents. Users of this database should therefore recognize that expert opinions may differ on whether a particular incident constitutes terrorism or some other form of political violence.

NCTC has made every effort to limit the degree of subjectivity involved in the judgments. In the interests of transparency NCTC has adopted counting rules that require that terrorists must have initiated and executed the attack for it to be included in the database; foiled attacks, as well as hoaxes, are not included in the database. Spontaneous (i.e. non-premeditated) hate crimes without intent to cause mass casualties are excluded to the greatest extent practicable.

What is a "noncombatant"?

Under the statutory definition of terrorism that NCTC uses to compile its database, the victim must be a "noncombatant." However, that term is left open to interpretation by the statute. For the purposes of the WITS database, the term "combatant" was interpreted to mean military, paramilitary, militia, and police under military command and control, in specific areas or regions where war zones or war-like settings exist. Further distinctions were drawn depending on the particular country involved and the role played by the military and police, e.g., where national security forces are indistinguishable from police and/or military forces. Noncombatants therefore included civilians and civilian police and military assets outside of war zones and war-like settings. Diplomatic assets, including personnel, embassies, consulates, and other facilities, were also considered noncombatant targets.

Although only acts of violence against noncombatant targets were counted as terrorism incidents for purposes of the WITS database, if those incidents also resulted in the death of combatant victims, all victims (combatant and noncombatant) were tallied. In an incident where combatants were the target of the event, non-combatants who were incidentally harmed were designated "collateral" and the incident excluded from the posted data set. For example, if terrorists attacked a military base in Iraq and wounded one civilian bystander, that victim would be deemed collateral, and the incident would not be counted.

In the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan, it is particularly difficult to gather comprehensive information about all incidents and to distinguish terrorism from the numerous other forms of violence, including crime and sectarian violence, in light of imperfect information. The distinction between terrorism and insurgency in Iraq is especially challenging, as Iraqis participate in the al-Qaida in Iraq and other terrorists network as well as in tribal and sectarian violence. Therefore, some combatants may be included as victims in some incidents when their presence was incidental to an attack intended for noncombatants. We note, however, that because of the difficulty in gathering data on Iraq and Afghanistan, the dataset does not provide a comprehensive account of all incidents of terrorism in these two countries.

What is "politically motivated violence"?

The statutory definition also requires the attack to be "politically motivated." NCTC has adopted a series of counting rules to assist in the data compilation. Any life threatening attack or kidnapping by any "Foreign Terrorist Organization" or group appearing on the list of "Other Organizations of Concern" is deemed politically motivated. Similarly, any serious attack by any organization or individual against a Government/Diplomatic official or a Government/Diplomatic building is deemed politically motivated and is therefore considered terrorism. On the other hand, any attack that is primarily criminal or economic in nature or is an instance of mob violence is considered not to be "politically motivated." Similarly, any terrorist organization actions that are primarily intended to enable future terrorist attacks (robbing a bank or selling narcotics for the purpose of raising money, for example) are not considered terrorism.

In between these relatively clear-cut cases, there is a degree of subjectivity. In general, NCTC counting rules consider that attacks by unknown perpetrators against either unknown victims or infrastructure are not demonstrably political and therefore are not terrorism. However, there are exceptions to this general rule: if such an attack occurs in areas in which there is significant insurgency, unrest, or political instability, the attack may be considered terrorism; or if the attack occurs in a region free of such political violence, but involves something more than a shooting (for instance, improvised explosive device, beheading, etc.), the attack may, depending on the circumstances, be considered terrorism. Finally, if low level attacks against noncombatant targets begin to suggest the existence of a chronic problem, the attacks may be considered terrorism.

Incidents of Terrorism Worldwide2



Incidents of terrorism worldwide



Incidents resulting in death, injury, or kidnapping of at least one individual



Incidents resulting in death of at least one individual



--Incidents resulting in the death of zero individuals



--Incidents resulting in the death of only one individual



--Incidents resulting in the death of at least 10 individuals



Incidents resulting in the injury of at least one individual



Incidents resulting in the kidnapping of at least one individual



Individuals worldwide killed, injured or kidnapped as a result of incidents of terrorism



--Individuals worldwide killed as a result of incidents of terrorism



--Individuals worldwide injured as a result of incidents of terrorism



--Individuals worldwide kidnapped as a result of incidents of terrorism



Incidents of Terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan2



Incidents of terrorism in Iraq



Incidents in Iraq resulting in death, injury, or kidnapping of at least one individual



Individuals in Iraq killed, injured, or kidnapped as a result of incidents of terrorism



Incidents of terrorism in Afghanistan



Incidents in Afghanistan resulting in death, injury, or kidnapping of at least one individual



Individuals in Afghanistan killed, injured, or kidnapped as a result of incidents of terrorism



NCTC Observations Related to Terrorist Incidents Statistical Material

Approximately 14,000 terrorist attacks occurred in various countries during 2006, resulting in over 20,000 deaths. Compared to 2005, attacks rose by 3,000, a 25 percent increase in 2006 while deaths rose by 5,800, a 40 percent increase. As was the case last year, by far the largest number of reported terrorist incidents and deaths occurred in the Near East and South Asia. These two regions also were the locations for 90 percent of all the 290 high casualty attacks that killed 10 or more people-only a total of five high casualty attacks occurred in Europe-Eurasia, East Asia-Pacific, and the Western Hemisphere.

  • Of the 14,000 reported attacks, 45 percent-about 6600-of them occurred in Iraq where approximately 13,000 fatalities-65 percent of the worldwide total-were reported for 2006.
  • Violence against non-combatants in eastern and sub-Saharan Africa, particularly related to attacks associated with turmoil in or near Sudan and Nigeria, rose 65 percent in 2006, rising to 420 from the approximately 253 attacks reported for 2005.
  • The 749 attacks in Afghanistan during 2006 are over 50 percent more than the 491 attacks reported for 2005 as fighting intensified during the past year.
  • The number of reported incidents in 2006 fell for Europe and Eurasia by 15 percent from 2005, for South Asia by 10 percent, and for the Western Hemisphere by 5 percent. No high casualty attacks occurred in Western Europe, and only two occurred in Southeast Asia, in the southern Philippines. There were no high casualty attacks and 95 percent fewer victims of terror in 2006 in Indonesia that was attributable, at least in part, to enhanced Indonesian security measures.

The number injured during terrorist incidents rose substantially in 2006, as compared with 2005, by 54 percent, with most of the rise stemming from a doubling of the reported number of injuries in Iraq since 2005. Although kidnappings in Iraq during 2006 rose sharply by 300 percent, kidnappings overall declined by more than 50 percent in 2006 due to a large drop of approximately 22,000 kidnappings in Nepal where peace discussions during the year apparently curtailed hostage taking.


The perpetrators of over 9,000 terrorist attacks in 2006 could not be determined from open source information. Of the remaining incidents, as many as 290 various subnational groups-many of them well-known foreign terrorist organizations-or clandestine agents were connected to an attack in various ways, including as a claimant, as the accused, and as the confirmed perpetrator. In most instances, open source reporting contains little confirmed or corroborating information that identifies the organizations or individuals responsible for a terrorist attack. In many reports, attackers are alleged to be tied to local or well-known terrorist groups but there is little subsequent reporting that verifies these connections. Moreover, pinpointing attackers becomes even more difficult as extremist groups splinter or merge with others, make false claims, or deny allegations.

  • According to open source reports, Sunni extremists, more than any other subnational group, claimed they conducted the largest number of incidents with the highest casualty totals.
  • Sunni extremists in various countries carried out about the same number of high fatality attacks in 2006 but with deadlier results, and were involved in more kidnappings than these extremists reportedly carried out in 2005.

Although no terrorist attack occurred last year that approached the sophistication of planning and preparations that were characteristic of the 9/11 attacks, open source reporting alleges that al-Qaida leaders played an important role in steering the airline hijacking plot in the United Kingdom that was disrupted in August. Reporting points to a steadfast al-Qaida that is planning attacks in northwest Pakistan, and was able to expand its propaganda campaign in 2006 to invigorate supporters, win converts, and gain recruits while its al-Qaida in Iraq associates and other linked groups carried out several successful attacks.

  • Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula conducted the first-ever terrorist attack against a Saudi Arabia oil facility at the major oil processing plant at Abqaiq on 24 February 2006. Security forces, suffering a few casualties, prevented the attackers from damaging processing capabilities.
  • According to open sources, al-Qaida senior leadership approved the merger with the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which conducted its first attack against a US target at La Trappe, Algeria on 10 December. The GSPC remotely detonated a bomb that struck a bus and wounded one of the US passengers who worked for a US company, and subsequently the attackers used small arms to fire bullets at the bus, killing or wounding 9 non-US civilians.

Types of Attacks

As was the case in 2005, in 2006 most attacks were perpetrated by terrorists applying conventional fighting methods that included using bombs and weapons, such as small arms. However, technology continues to empower terrorist and effective methods of attack continue to be developed by them to offset countermeasures. Terrorists continued their practice of coordinated attacks that included secondary attacks on first responders at attack sites, and they uniquely configured weapons and other materials to create improvised explosive devices.

  • While bombing incidents increased by 30 percent from those in 2005, the death tolls in these incidents during 2006 rose by 39 percent and injuries by 45 percent. The use of suicide bombing attacks overall fell 12 percent, most notably in the use of suicide car bombers. However, suicide bombers operating outside of vehicles increased by 25 percent, and the ability of these attackers to penetrate large concentrations of people and then detonate their explosives probably accounted for the increase in lethality of bombings in 2006.
  • A new CBRN terrorist attack method in Iraq emerged in 2006. According to an Iraqi Interior Ministry explosive expert, a large vehicle-borne IED (VBIED) attack that included chemicals in Sadr City on 23 November signaled a dangerous strategic shift in tactics for 2007 that features the use of chemical weapons.

Victims and Targets of Attacks

As was the case in 2005, Muslims again bore a substantial share of being the victims of terrorist attacks in 2006.

  • Approximately 58,000 individuals worldwide were either killed or injured by terrorist attacks in 2006. Based upon a combination of reporting and demographic analysis of the countries involved, well over 50 percent of the victims were Muslims, and most were victims of attacks in Iraq.

Open source reporting identifies approximately 70 percent of the 58,000 killed or injured victims of terror as simply civilians, and therefore actual tallies of significant types of victims cannot be specifically determined. However, the reporting does yield some insights about the demographics of these victims.

  • Government officials such as leaders, police, department personnel, paramilitary personnel such as guards, were reported 20 percent more often, rising from approximately 9,500 in 2005 to just over 11,200 in 2006. More specifically, police victims were reported more often, their total rising more than 20 percent, from over 6,500 in 2005 to over 8,200 in 2006.
  • More killings of educators were reported in 2006; 148 deaths were highlighted in 2006 reporting as compared to 96 last year. Reporting of student victims increased over 320 percent to over 430 either killed or injured in attacks, and reports of teachers as victims also increased by over 45 percent reaching 214 either killed or injured in attacks.
  • Children were also reported more often as victims in 2006, up by more than 80 percent, with over 1,800 children either killed or injured in terrorist attacks.
  • More attacks involving journalists were reported, an increased of 5 percent, yet in those attacks more journalist deaths and injuries were reported in 2006, an increase of 20 percent.

In addition to the human toll, 19,500 facilities were struck or were the target during terrorist attacks last year. For both 2005 and 2006, the most common types of properties damaged or destroyed during an incident were vehicles and residences, which were hit in about 27 and 12 percent of the incidents in each year, respectively. The percentage of incidents that included other types of property damage or destruction, such as those associated with energy, transportation, education, government, and other enterprises, remain unchanged at single digit levels with a few notable exceptions.

  • Approximately 350 Mosques were targeted or struck during an attack in 2006, in most cases by Islamic extremists, representing over a three-fold increase from 2005. The attack against the Shia Golden Dome Mosque in Iraq, attributed to al-Qaida in Iraq, triggered a watershed of escalating sectarian violence in Iraq.
  • Fewer incidents involved civil aircraft and airports, resulting in less damage to either one in 2006.
  • Electoral polling stations saw over an 80 percent drop in attacks by terrorists in 2006.

An Academic's Perspective of Statistical Data

"In this short note, which was invited by NCTC, I highlight some of the challenges encountered in producing credible data on terrorist incidents. The WITS database strikes me as a particularly useful resource to use to evaluate trends in terrorist activity, to infer patterns in terrorists' methods in order to take the best possible precautions, and to test hypotheses concerning the causes of terrorism. With these applications in mind, there are three areas in which the WITS data deserve particular attention: Definition, measurement and significance. The definition is missing two important pieces, whether or not an attack is international or domestic, and political violence 'usually intended to influence an audience.' Measurement of the error rate in the WITS data is important to understand. Statistical techniques used by other government statistical agencies could be adopted to measure the rate of error, comprehensiveness, and consistency of the WITS data. These measures will facilitate use of the WITS data by researchers and highlight areas where the data are weak. Providing measures of significance of events (e.g., a terrorist Richter scale running from 1 to 5) and coder confidence would be particularly useful. The collection and provision of data like the WITS is a quintessential public good, and NCTC is the most appropriate government agency to collect such data."

Alan B. Krueger
Princeton University
April 11, 2007

The full letter of Dr. Krueger is available in the 2006 NCTC Report on Terrorist Incidents, available via the Internet at www.nctc.gov.

Terrorism Deaths, Injuries, Kidnappings of Private U.S. Citizens, 20063

Provided by the Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State

The term "Private U.S. Citizen" refers to any U.S. citizen not acting in an official capacity on behalf of the U.S. Government; therefore these figures do not include, for example, U.S. military personnel killed or injured in a terrorism-related incident while on active duty or employees of the Department of State and other federal agencies. Members of U.S. Government employees' households are considered private U.S. citizens.

Although every effort was made to include all terrorism-related deaths and injuries involving private U.S. citizens, the figures below reflect only those cases reported to, or known by, the U.S. Department of State, and may not reflect actual numbers of injured, which may not always be reported depending on their severity. As NCTC also notes, in the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan, it is particularly difficult to gather comprehensive information about all incidents and to distinguish terrorism from the numerous other forms of violence.

U.S. citizens worldwide killed as a result of incidents of terrorism: 28
U.S. citizens worldwide injured as a result of incidents of terrorism: 27
U.S. citizens worldwide kidnapped as a result of incidents of terrorism: 12


Country Date of Death Number Location
Afghanistan May 18, 2006 1 Islam Qal, Herat, Afghanistan
December 6, 2006 2 Kandahar, Afghanistan
Iraq January 6, 2006 1 Nasiriyah, Iraq
January 16, 2006 1 Baghdad, Iraq
January 18, 2006 2 Basrah, Iraq
February 11, 2006 1 Baghdad, Iraq
March 9, 2006 1 Baghdad, Iraq
March 14, 2006 1 Tal Afar, Iraq
March 20, 2006 1 Baghdad, Iraq
May 3, 2006 1 Tallil, Iraq
May 7, 2006 1 Balad-Tahwilla, Iraq
May 8, 2006 1 Near Rustamiyah, Iraq
August 17, 2006 1 North of Tallil, Iraq
August 18, 2006 1 Baghdad, Iraq
August 28, 2006 1 Baji, Iraq
September 17, 2006 1 Hawijah, Iraq
September 22, 2006 1 Basrah, Iraq
October 4, 2006 1 Baghdad, Iraq
October 11, 2006 1 Tikrit, Iraq
October 22, 2006 1 Baghdad, Iraq
November 2, 2006 1 Baghdad, Iraq
November 13, 2006 1 Baghdad, Iraq
December 21, 2006 1 Baghdad, Iraq
Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank May 14, 2006 1 Tel Aviv, Israel
Pakistan March 2, 2006 1 Karachi, Pakistan
Thailand September 16, 2006 1 Hat Yai, Thailand


Country Date of Death Number Location
Afghanistan April 7, 2006 2 Lashkargar Province, Afghanistan
May 18, 2006 2 Islam Qal, Herat, Afghanistan
Algeria December 10, 2006 1 Algiers, Algeria
Egypt April 24, 2006 5 Dahab, Sinai, Egypt
India July 11, 2006 1 Srinagar, India
August 16, 2006 5 Imphal, India
Iraq January 18, 2006 1 Basrah, Iraq
January 29, 2006 1 Taji, Iraq
May 18, 2006 2 Herat, Iraq
May 29, 2006 1 Baghdad, Iraq
October 24, 2006 1 Keokuk, Iraq
December 21, 2006 1 Baghdad, Iraq
Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank April 17, 2006 1 Tel Aviv, Israel
October 11, 2006 1 Nobles, the West Bank
Russia January 11, 2006 1 Moscow, Russia
Thailand September 16, 2006 1 Hat Yai, Thailand


Country Date of Death Number Location
Afghanistan March 30, 2006* 1 Near Gresham, Afghanistan
Iraq March 30, 2006* 1 Baghdad, Iraq
July 9, 2006* 1 Baghdad, Iraq
August 5, 2006* 1 Baghdad, Iraq
November 16, 2006 4 Aswan, Iraq
Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank June 10, 2006* 1 Nobles, the West Bank
August 27, 2006* 1 Gaza City, Gaza
Nigeria January 30, 2006* 1 Offshore the Niger Delta, Nigeria
August 23, 2006* 1 Port Harcourt, Nigeria

*Date rescued/released.

1 Users who wish to determine the number of incidents of "international terrorism" (i.e., incidents that involve the territory or citizens of two or more countries) will find these incidents included in the WITS database.
2 In all cases limited to incidents targeting noncombatants. The 2005 numbers were updated since last year's publication. Updates are available on the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System at <www.nctc.gov>.
3 In all cases limited to incidents targeting noncombatants.

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