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There were more than 10,000 terrorist attacks worldwide last year — five times as many as there were the year of the Sept. 11 attacks, the leader of a new congressionally mandated task force on extremism told reporters.

Expand chart
Data: Global Terrorism Database; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. The incidents labeled as terror attacks include armed assault, assassination, bombing/explosion, facility/infrastructure attack, hijacking, hostage taking (barricade incident), hostage taking (kidnapping) and unarmed assault.

The big picture: After 9/11, the U.S. honed in on confronting terrorists and protecting the homeland, according to former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, a co-chair of the original 9/11 commission and co-chair of the new task force on extremism. But Kean told reporters there's been "no headway" on one of the commissions' recommendations following the 9/11 attacks: preventing the spread of Islamic terrorism.

Terror groups thrive on instability, a newly released report from the task force explains. Areas that have no solid governing power, are in the midst of a civil war or are suffering from a "breakdown of social order" are at the highest risk of fostering extremism.

  • Per the report, 77% of conflicts in the Middle East, the Sahel region in Africa and the Horn of Africa "have a violent extremist element," up from 22% in 2001.
  • But the damage brought on fragile states is only the beginning: "As more states suffer violent outbreaks of extremism ... international order unravels further."
  • And extremism undermines regional influence and fuels chaos, the task force explains, allowing powers like Russia, Iran and China to exploit threats for their own economic and strategic purposes.
  • Per the report, the U.S. "cannot compete effectively against China, Russia, or Iran as long as extremism fuels an arc of instability" in the region.

The bottom line: The report concludes that extremists are now focused on "establishing a new political order." The task force says the U.S. strategy must evolve into one of prevention, starting by strengthening the world's most at-risk states.

"Despite our best efforts since 9/11 to counter terrorism and protect the homeland, the threat of extremism and its danger to the United States has evolved, and it continues to grow.”
— Former Gov. Thomas Kean

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Swimmer Chase Kalisz first American to win Olympics gold medal

Chase Kalisz of Team United States celebrates after winning the Men's 400m Individual Medley Final on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Swimmer Chase Kalisz became on Sunday the first Team USA Olympian to win gold at the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: The Rio 2016 silver medalist's winning time in the men's 400 meters Individual Medley Final was 4 minutes 9.42 seconds. His teammate Jay Litherland took silver .86 seconds later.

California's largest wildfire razes homes as 88 huge blazes burn in U.S.

Firefighters on the scene as dozens of homes burn during the Dixie Fire in the Indian Falls neighborhood of unincorporated Plumas County, California, on July 24. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Flames from California's biggest wildfire were engulfing homes in the state's north overnight — one of 88 large blazes raging in the U.S.

Driving the news: The Dixie Fire, which erupted July 14 near the origin of the deadly 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County, was tearing through the community of Indian Falls in the neighboring Plumas County, per AP.

Golfer Bryson DeChambeau will miss Olympics after testing positive for COVID

Bryson DeChambeau of the United States on the 18th tee during Day Two of the 149th Open at Royal St George’s Golf Club on July 16 in Sandwich, England. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Bryson DeChambeau has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the Tokyo Olympic Games, USA Golf announced late Saturday.

What he's saying: "I am deeply disappointed not to be able to compete in the Olympics for Team USA," DeChambeau said in a statement.