ISLAMABAD: The year 2022 ended with the deadliest month for Pakistan’s security personnel over a decade with the emergence of a new terror triad, comprising Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Daesh-Afghanistan.

In 2023, Pakistan is likely to endure more violence, a report released by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) stated.

Security forces lost at least 282 personnel in 2022, with 40 fatalities only in December, in attacks that included improvised explosive device (IED) ambushes, suicide attacks and raids on security posts, mostly in the Pakistan-Afghan border regions.

The country suffered 376 terror attacks in 2022 out of which banned terror outfits such as TTP, Daesh and BLA claimed responsibility for 57 of these strikes.

As a whole, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) experienced an exponential rise in violence, with fatalities rising by 108pc.

Total fatalities from terrorist violence stood at 973.

Majority of the victims were civilians, government officials and security personnel (62pc of the total fatalities) while the militants, insurgents and other outlaws were counted for the remaining 38pc of fatalities.

The report said soon after the outlawed TTP called off the year-old ceasefire on Nov 28, an unprecedented spate of terrorist violence ensued in KP and Balochistan like never before with over two dozen attacks in December alone.

This took the fatalities in the province (including ex-Fata) to nearly 64pc of all the fatalities in the country followed by Balochistan which suffered 26pc of terror-related deaths.

In Balochistan, insurgent groups such as BLA and BNA (Baloch Nationalist Army) took the lead with at least 14 major attacks, mostly on security forces targets, resulting in 33 fatalities and 23 injuries. For the first time in a show of power beyond Balochistan, a female member of BLA carried out suicide attack at Karachi University in April that killed three Chinese teachers and a Pakistani driver. Baloch insurgents also spread their sphere of operations to Punjab where they attacked Anarkali Bazaar in Lahore on Jan 21, 2022.

Most of the terrorist violence originated in eastern Afghanistan, officials claimed, with top TTP militants enjoying hospitality of Afghan Taliban. Even the Afghan Taliban revived the issue of the Durand Line and began questioning as well as puncturing the border fence that was erected at a cost of $500 million.

Most of terrorist strikes concentrated in Greater Bannu adjacent to Waziristan, Bajaur and Kurram districts. These districts directly abut Afghan provinces of Kunar, Nangarhar, Paktia, Paktika and thus as springboard for terrorist missions into Pakistani mainland.

In 2023, Pakistan is likely to endure more violence.The pattern over the last decade suggests that security forces including the army and police as well as KP and Balochistan provinces will remain under terrorist violence. Also, these challenges are likely to persist as long as terrorist outfits enjoy safety in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, data released by Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) also showed that the year 2022 had seen the highest number of militant attacks in Pakistan during the last five years as the terror incidents increased by 28pc compared to 2021. A 37 and 35pc rise in deaths and number of injured respectively was also recorded by PICSS in 2022.

The country faced at least 376 terror attacks in 2022, in which 533 people were killed and 832 injured.

This was for the first time since 2017 that the country faced more than 300 militant attacks.

Published in Dawn, january 1st, 2023

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