Terror attacks up by 73pc in Pakistan since Taliban takeover

PIPS report warns of emerging trends of terrorism

ISLAMABAD   -   The number of terrorist attacks in Pakistan has posted a phenome­nal increase of 73 percent during the first 21 months, since the Tali­ban seized power in Afghanistan, as compared to the corresponding pe­riod of time before their takeover.

Overall, incidents of terrorist vio­lence have significantly increased in­side Pakistan since August 15, 2021 when the Taliban took control of Ka­bul. The number of people killed in the attacks in Pakistan from August 2021 to April 2023 (21 months) has also increased by 138 percent.

These are some of the key find­ings of the policy-oriented report titled “Pakistan’s Afghan Perspec­tive and Policy Options”, launched by Pakistan Institute for Peace Stud­ies (PIPS) here at a local hotel. The report, which comprises significant recommendations for the policy­makers, is the final outcome of ex­tensive monitoring, research and analyses, and eight expert consulta­tions the think tank has conducted since July 2021.

Experts on security and Afghan af­fairs, academics, lawmakers, jour­nalists, students, and representa­tives of civil society, among others, attended the launch event. A brain­storming question answer session was held at the end of ceremony af­ter experts delivered their speeches.

The report also says that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan provinces have witnessed a marked impact of the Afghan situation in terms of terrorist violence, where the number of attacks during these 21 months surged by 92 percent and 81 percent, respectively. How­ever, the number of terrorist attacks in Punjab, Sindh and Islamabad Cap­ital Territory has posted a relative decline since the Taliban takeover as compared to corresponding 21 months pre-August 2021.

The report warns that these emerg­ing trends of terrorism will only add to Pakistan’s persistent security challenge in terms of Taliban mili­tancy in KP and the erstwhile tribal areas, Baloch nationalist insurgency in Balochistan, ethno-nationalist vi­olence in Sindh, as well as growing religious extremism and radicalism. Deputy Head of Mission of the Roy­al Norwegian Embassy in Islamabad Dr. Maha Noor Khan speaking on the occasion said that Norway was one of the few countries of the world that has always supported “to continue to have dialogue with the (Afghan) Tal­iban.” She said that promoting con­flict resolution and reconciliation was the central aspect of Norwegian foreign policy.

Expressing her concerns about the women’s situation in the war-torn country, she said that the Tal­iban government’s decision to deny women and girls of their right to education and work was a seri­ous violation of human rights. “We underline the need for a more rep­resentative and inclusive govern­ment (in Afghanistan),” the deputy head of mission also said. Professor of Politics & International Relations at the Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal said that all segments of the soci­ety had a consensus that Pakistan’s over five decades long Afghan policy needed to be revisited.

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