ISLAMABAD - The proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is becoming a major irritant in Islamabad’s relations with the Taliban government in Kabul as the militant group, which is believed to be operating from the neighbouring Afghanistan, remained one of the major actors of violence in Pakistan in the year 2022. In 2022, the number of terrorist attacks in Pakistan marked an in crease of 27 percent from the year before. The number of terrorist attacks in the country also continued to rise for the second consecutive year. A total of 262 terrorist attacks in Pakistan in the year – including 14 suicide bombings –claimed in all 419 lives and injured another 734 people. A 25 percent increase has been recorded in fatalities in the outgoing year as compared with 2021.
Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based think tank, revealed these statistics and analysis on the overall security situation of Pakistan during the outgoing year in its annual “Pakistan Security Report 2022”, released here on Saturday.
Out of the total attacks, the banned TTP carried out 89 terrorist attacks in Pakistan in the year 2022. The Islamic State’s Khorasan chapter also stepped up its militant activities in the year and carried out at least 23 terrorist attacks as compared to eight in 2021.
In 2022, the proscribed Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) remained the major source of violence in Balochistan. The group carried out 46 terrorist attacks – including 45 in Balochistan, and one in Karachi – as compared to 38 in 2021.
The security report notes that the Afghan Taliban’s taking power in Kabul, and the Pakistani state’s mistaken and persistent ambition to engage in peace talks with the TTP encouraged the group to regroup and escalate terrorist violence in the country. It appears “unconvinced that the Taliban will fulfil their promises on foreign militant groups such as Al-Qaeda, Islamic State Movement of Uzbekistan, ETIM (East Turkestan Islamic Movement ) or TIP (Turkistan Islamic Party), and TTP,” reads the report. It added that the Taliban have so far only acted against the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K).
The TTP, local Taliban groups such as Hafiz Gul Bahadur group, IS-K, and other similar religiously inspired groups perpetrated a combined total of 179 terrorist attacks in Pakistan in 2022, as compared to 128 in the previous year, which killed 250 people and injured 262 others. Different Baloch and Sindhi nationalist insurgent groups carried out 79 attacks, as compared to 77 such attacks in 2021, which claimed 97 lives and wounded another 259 people.
As compared to two in 2021, four sectarian-related terrorist attacks were recorded in 2022 claiming 72 lives and inflicting injuries on another 213 people. Out of the total 262 terrorist attacks recorded in 2022, as many as 180, or about 69 percent, targeted personnel, vehicles, convoys, and posts or facilities of security and law enforcement agencies, PIPS said in its security report.
About half of the total fatalities or deaths (419), caused by terrorist attacks in 2022, concentrated among personnel of security forces and law enforcement agencies. Another 234 personnel of security and law enforcement agencies were also injured in the reported terrorist attacks. Similarly, 152 civilians lost their lives and another 498 were wounded in these violent incidents.
About 95 percent of the total recorded terrorist attacks in Pakistan in the outgoing year happened in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provinces.
Out of the total terrorist attacks, as many as 169, or over 64 percent, occurred in KP. Balochistan faced the second highest number of terrorist attacks after KP. Baloch insurgents as well as religiously inspired militant groups perpetrated a total of 79 attacks in the province, compared to 81 in the previous year, which claimed 106 lives and wounded 271 others.
Same as in the previous year, eight terrorist attacks took place in Sindh province including six in Karachi and two in interior Sindh. A combined total of five (5) terrorist attacks took place in Punjab and Islamabad which claimed 11 lives and injured 39 others.
Compared to five in the year before, as many as 14 suicide attacks happened in 2022 including 10 in KP, two in Balochistan, and one each in Sindh, and Islamabad. These attacks claimed 108 lives – compared to 30 in 2021 – and injured 287 others.
When counted together, as many as 398 incidents of violence of different types were recorded in Pakistan in 2022. These overall incidents of violence killed a total of 832 people and injured 960 others.
The report says that insecurity and violence at the Pak-Afghan border have been growing gradually, since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan. As many 15 cross-border attacks took place in Pakistan during 2022. Out of total, 13 attacks happened from across the country’s border with Afghanistan in KP and Balochistan. These attacks from Afghanistan killed 34 people including 20 security officials, and injured 52 others.
Security forces and law enforcement agencies conducted 87 anti-militant operational strikes in 2022 in 25 districts and regions of Pakistan. These actions caused a total of 327 fatalities including 302 militants, 22 army soldiers, and one each Frontier Corps soldier, policeman, and civilian – as compared to 197 in 2021 – besides injuring 51 others.
The report recommends that the government should come up with a proper mechanism to implement the National Security Policy as well as the revised National Action Plan (NAP).
“There should be a zero-tolerance policy towards the terrorist groups, and there should be no negotiations with those who are unwilling to quit violence,” the report concludes.