Global Peace Index: Afghanistan remains the world’s least peaceful country

Afghanistan has been ranked the least peaceful country in the world for the eighth consecutive year, according to a report by the Global Peace Index (GPI), a leading measure of global peacefulness across 163 independent states.

The GPI 2023 report, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, stated that terrorism remains a serious security problem in the country despite improvements in the intensity of internal conflict and militarization as a result of the withdrawal of US and NATO troops and subsequent Taliban takeover in August 2021.

According to the report, deaths from armed conflict were significantly reduced in 2022 with conflict-related deaths falling over 90%, from almost 43,000 to just over 4,000.

“The number of weekly deaths from conflict had surged to be well over 2,000 in the three months preceding the troop withdrawal. However, since the withdrawal, there have only been three occasions where more than 200 deaths were recorded in a single week, and more than 100 deaths in a single week have not been recorded since October 2022.” The report mentioned.

Despite the decline in the level of conflict, the report asserted that violence is still widespread throughout the country, pertaining to the escalating conflict between Taliban and Islamic State—Khorasan Province (ISKP), as well as the group’s hostilities with anti-Taliban resistance groups, including the National Resistance Front (NRF) and National Liberation Front (NLF).

The report shows that ISKP, which views the Taliban as both its strategic and ideological rival, continues to target and kill high-profile Taliban officials and civilians.

The report, therefore, indicates that the security situation in Afghanistan remains uncertain amid the ongoing escalation in the conflict between ISKP and the Taliban and the latter’s offensive with NRF and NLF, among other groups.

Moreover, the report asserts that the potential for future violence is still present, particularly threatening ethnic and religious minorities, including the Hazaras who have been targeted by the ISKP in the past.

According to the GPI 2023 report, the economic impact of violence in Afghanistan remains significant, with the country incurring a large-scale cost equivalent to 47% of its GDP.