More

    Pakistan: 2023 ends with 70% Increase in Militant Attacks, 81% Rise in Deaths

    Civil societyDemocracyPakistan: 2023 ends with 70% Increase in Militant Attacks,...
    - Advertisment -

    Pakistan: 2023 ends with 70% Increase in Militant Attacks, 81% Rise in Deaths

    The average militant attacks per month rose from 32 in 2022 to 54 attacks per month in 2023. This is the highest monthly average in any year after 2015 according to the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies. There was a consistent decline in militant attacks from 2015 to 2019.

    Pakistan witnessed another year of an unprecedented surge in militant attacks as the country saw a staggering 70 per cent rise in attacks, an 81 per cent increase in resultant deaths, and a 62 per cent surge in the number of wounded, according to a study published by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS).

    According to the study, the year 2023 witnessed at least 645 militant attacks across the country in which 976 people were killed and 1354 injured. The year 2022 had witnessed 380 militant attacks resulting in 539 deaths and 836 injuries. The situation could have been even worse if Pakistani security forces had not foiled hundreds of attacks and attempts during the year. Overall, there was a 74 surge in the actions of the security forces against the militants in which around 612 suspected militants were killed and at least 625 were arrested. By combining militant attacks and security forces actions the country saw 1016 violent incidents in which 1529 people were killed and 1442 injured.

    Stalled talks

    The PICSS database shows that the average militant attacks per month rose from 32 in 2022 to 54 attacks per month in 2024 which is the highest monthly average in any year after 2015. There was a consistent decline in militant attacks from 2015 to 2019. The average number of militant attacks per month had dropped to just 13 attacks per month. However, from 2020 onwards a consistent increase has been observed every year.

    Security experts attribute this alarming rise to the stalled talks between the Pakistani Taliban and the government, an increase in jihadist group manpower, and a weakening of the Afghan Taliban’s control over Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

    - Advertisement -

    Journalist Mushtaq Yousafzai supports the report, citing two reasons for the upswing in attacks. Firstly, the breakdown of negotiations with armed groups extinguished hope, leading to a shift in tactics, with suicide attacks targeting security forces to signal their resolve. Secondly, the strategy of focusing on security forces instead of civilians learned from the Afghan Taliban’s experiences, became a predominant approach.

    While acknowledging the rise in the number of armed organizations, senior journalist Iftikhar Firdous emphasizes that most suicide attacks are not TTP-affiliated. Groups like Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan, Ansar-ul-Islam, and Hafiz Gul Bahadur in North Waziristan claimed responsibility for attacks later in the year.

    Firdous notes the complexity, stating, “If we look at the strategy of militant organizations, whenever they get surplus fighters, they turn to suicide attacks from guerrilla warfare. This means an increase in their numbers has happened.”

    Contrary to the Afghan Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah’s denial of attacks originating from Afghanistan, Iftikhar Firdous suggests a potential link between the violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He cautions that without a peace agreement between the two countries, the risk of destabilization persists in 2024.

    Regions affected

    During the year 2023, militant attacks not only increased in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and its tribal districts but also in Balochistan and Punjab. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa witnessed the highest number of militant attacks and resultant casualties during 2023. PICSS recorded 423 militant attacks in KP in which 621 people were killed including 307 security forces personnel, 222 civilians, and 92 militants while 980 were injured including 525 security forces personnel, 405 civilians, and 50 militants. Within Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, more violence was recorded from mainland Khyber Pakhtunkhwa than the Newly Merged Districts (erstwhile FATA) as the mainland Khyber Pakhtunkhwa witnessed 237 militant attacks in which 336 people were killed including 213 security forces personnel, 67 civilians, and 56 militants while 591 were injured including 383 security forces personnel, 165 civilians and 43 militants. There was an 85 per cent increase in militant attacks in mainland Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region faced 186 militant attacks in which 285 people were killed including 155 civilians, 94 security forces personnel, and 36 militants while 389 were injured including 240 civilians, 142 security forces personnel, and seven militants. The region witnessed a 60 per cent rise in militant attacks in 2023 compared with 2022.

    According to the PICSS Annual Security Report, Balochistan faced at least 170 militant attacks in which 285 people were killed including 151 civilians, 114 security forces personnel, and 20 militants while 388 people were injured including 195 civilians, 99 security forces personnel, and four militants. The rise in militant attacks in Balochistan was 65 per cent in 2023 compared with 2022.

    Sindh also witnessed a 40 per cent rise in militant attacks in 2023 as there were 35 such incidents were reported from the province in which 39 people died including 22 civilians, 11 security forces personnel, and six militants while 35 people were injured including 24 security forces personnel, ten civilians and one militant.

    An unprecedented rise in militant activities was witnessed in Punjab where 14 militant attacks were reported in 2023 compared to just three in 2022. In Punjab, 20 people were killed in militant attacks including 14 militants, four security forces personnel, and two civilians while 14 people got injured including eight civilians, five security forces personnel, and one militant.

    - Advertisement -

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Latest news

    Governance Reforms to Include Digital Empowerment of Citizens

    Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh says “Continuing the reforms and revamping training structures and methodologies to optimize the performance...

    Ministry of Education Issues Advisory to ensure RTE Entitlements to Children with Special Needs

    The aim is to ensure the NEP 2020 objective of providing access to quality education for all, including children...

    Nepalese Women Unionists Demand Recognising Community Health Work as Work

    In a first, two community health workers from Nepal are participating in the ILO's ongoing annual meeting Geneva, Switzerland....

    Climate Change Widening Asia’s Education Gap

    Extreme heat and flooding are forcing kids to miss classes across Asia, amid concerns that climate change could be...
    - Advertisement -

    FAO Report: Global fisheries and Aquaculture Production Reaches New Record High

    Aquaculture growth indicates its capacity to further contribute to meeting the rising global demand for aquatic foods, but future...

    Global Temperature Likely to Exceed 1.5°C Above Pre-Industrial Level Temporarily in Next Five Years

    The chance of at least one of the next five years exceeding 1.5°C has risen steadily since 2015, when...

    Must read

    Governance Reforms to Include Digital Empowerment of Citizens

    Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh says “Continuing the reforms...
    - Advertisement -

    More from the sectionRELATED
    Recommended to you