The State Department yesterday said Al Qa’ida remained the “preeminent threat” to the United States in 2010 in its annual Country Reports on Terrorism 2010, that assesses trends and offers statistics on 2010.
“Although the AQ core in Pakistan has become weaker, it retained the capability to conduct regional and transnational attacks,” the report states. Additionally the AQ affiliates have grown stronger.
The congressionally mandated report provides policy assessments and a nation-by-nation breakdown of foreign government cooperation, chapters on WMD terrorism, state sponsors of terrorism, safe havens and foreign terrorist organizations.
The report includes a statistical annex prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center. Those statistics show more than 11,500 terrorist attacks occurred in 72 countries during 2010, resulting in more than 13,200 deaths. Although the number of attacks rose by almost 5 percent from the previous year, the number of deaths declined for a third consecutive year, dropping 12 percent from 2009.
Also, for the second consecutive year, the report found the largest number of reported attacks occurred in South Asia and the Near East, with more than 75 percent of the world’s attacks and deaths occurring in these regions.
A troubling trend was that English-speaking militants were increasingly connecting through online discussion for and video platforms, “which encouraged both violent behavior and individual action, the report found. As examples, it noted five Pakistani-Americans contacted by a Taliban recruiter through YouTube, who went to Pakistan to train for warfare against the United States.
Looking just at Afghanistan in 2010, the report said there was an increase in IED attacks, direct and indirect fire, and suicide attacks, which it said was likely tied to the increase in ISAF troops from 100,000 to 131,700 and their kinetic activity.
“There was a 72 percent increase in total kinetic events, with IEDs representing 25 to 40 percent of this activity,” the report said.
The report is available at: http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/2010/index.htm.