ISLAMABAD: The rise in militant attacks in Pakistan coincided with the Afghan Taliban’s military offensive that started in May 2021 and reached the highest point in August 2021 with the takeover of Kabul, said a study conducted by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Study (PICSS).

The highest number of attacks in a single month in 2021 was recorded in August when 45 attacks were carried out by militants, the institute said in its report.

Despite a one-month ceasefire from November 10 to December 10, the overall number of militant attacks could not drop.

The average number of militant attacks per month in Pakistan rose from 16 in 2020 to 25 in 2021, which was the highest after 2017.

PICSS militancy database showed that Balochistan turned out to be the most turbulent province where 170 deaths were recorded in 103 attacks. The highest number of injured were also reported from Balochistan where more than 50pc of the total injured (331) were recorded.

The tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were the second most affected region of the country which though witnessed a similar number of attacks as Balochistan (103). However, the number of deaths was lesser than Balochistan - 117 compared to 170 in Balochistan) - and 103 were injured.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, other than the tribal districts, was the third most affected region which witnessed 59 militant attacks in which 63 people lost their lives and 59 were injured.

In Sindh, 15 militant attacks were recorded in which 23 people were killed and 29 injured. In Punjab, militants carried out 10 attacks in which 10 people were killed and 87 injured.

Islamabad witnessed three militant attacks claiming the lives of three while one person was killed in a single attack in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The militant attacks went up in 2021 in almost all administrative regions of the country except Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Balochistan saw 110pc while KP tribal districts 27pc and KP an 111pc rise in militant attacks during the year 2021.

In the wake of the escalating terror threat, security forces also stepped up their operations against militants. A 40pc increase in security forces’ actions was recorded compared to 2020. In total, security forces conducted 205 reported actions/operations against militants in which 188 militants were killed and 220 arrested.

The highest number of security forces actions was reported from Sindh where 92 suspected militants were arrested and five killed in 57 actions.

At least 72 militants were killed in the tribal districts of KP and 13 were arrested in 48 actions. KP (other than the tribal districts) witnessed 38 security forces actions in which 21 militants were eliminated and 43 arrested.

The highest number of arrests after Sindh was reported from Punjab where security forces rounded up 56 militants and killed seven others in 32 actions. The highest number of militant deaths in security forces actions was reported from Balochistan where 83 militants were killed and 13 arrested in 29 actions.

Published in Dawn, January 1st, 2022

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