Countries Paying the Highest Price of Terrorism

Published August 18th, 2021 - 06:00 GMT
stop terrorism sign
Different terrorist organizations have emerged around the world in the last 2 decades. (Shutterstock: Eightshot_Studio)

It was 20 years ago when the world came up with the term "war on terror", mostly as the United States planned its military operation against Afghanistan.

If you look up the word "terrorism" online, you will most probably find an American definition crafted by the FBI, referring to it as "the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims".

Over the last two decades, the fight against terror was no longer limited to combating the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Extremist religious groups kept emerging in different parts of the world, especially in times of military conflicts, similar to the appearance of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, years after the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011.

However, and while any prolonged war is great news for the arms-producing industry, it is usually pretty costly for governments and people who would live through the conflict.

In this article, we will explore the cost of wars on terrorism in several countries around the world. Most figures mentioned in this article will be from the Global Terrorism Index 2019.

The 2014 ISIS threat has pushed the global economic cost of terrorism to an unprecedented peak, as it reached $111 billion. Ever since ISIS has been facing defeat, the number has been declining reaching only about $33 billion by 2018.

Due to the continued US military presence in Afghanistan, the country paid the biggest cost of terrorism in 2019, as different groups resumed their attacks that aimed at forcing the US to withdraw its troops from the country. During the same year, 19.4% of Afghanistan's GDP was spent on the former government's efforts to combat militants that are not part of the national army.

Infographic: Where the Economic Impact of Terrorism is Strongest | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Being on the watch for any remaining ISIS fighters, Iraq came in second place with about 3.9% of its GDP for 2019. Nigeria came in third with about 2.7%, tackling the threat of Boko Haram.

The continued fight between different armed groups in the Central African Republic has urged the government to allocate 1.6% of its GDP to fight terrorism. Syria's ongoing civil war has also cost the country 1.6% of its GDP in 2019.

Mali's fight against terrorist groups has cost 1.4% of its GDP. Libya's figures point at 1.2% during 2019, while Somalia spent just about 1.1% of its GDP. 

Finally, South Sudan allocated 0.8% of its GDP during 2019 for the same purpose, just as Yemen spent 0.6% during the same year.


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