Islamabad: After a consistent decline in militant attacks for six years, Pakistan has witnessed a 56 percent surge in militant attacks during the year 2021 despite a one-month ceasefire by TTP. The statistics released by an Islamabad-based think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) show that the militants have carried out 294 attacks during the year in which 388 people were killed including 184 civilians, and 192 security forces personnel while 606 people were injured including 389 civilians and 217 security forces personnel. Pakistani security forces also killed 188 militants and arrested at least 220 suspected militants during the year.
The year 2020 had witnessed 188 militant attacks in which 266 people were killed and 595 injured. Comparison of both the year shows that there was a 56% increase in the number of attacks, 46% increase in the total number of deaths and 66% increase in the casualties of Pakistani security forces. The number of militant attacks in 2021 was the highest after 2017 in any year while the number of deaths was the highest in any year after 2018.
The rise in militant attacks in Pakistan coincided with the Afghan Taliban’s military offensive started in May 2021 and reached the highest point in August 2021 when the Taliban took over Kabul. The highest number of militant attacks in a single month during 2021 were recorded during August when PICSS recorded 45 attacks. ڈespite a one-month ceasefire from November 10 to December 10, the overall number of militant attacks could not drop in both months.
The average number of militant attacks per month in Pakistan rose from 16 in 2020 to 25 in 2021 which is the highest after 2017.
PICSS Militancy Database shows that Balochistan turned out to be the most turbulent province where the highest number of deaths (170) were recorded in 103 militant attacks. The highest number of injured were also reported from Balochistan where more than fifty percent of the total injured (331) were recorded. The tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (erstwhile FAT) were the second most affected region of the country which although witnessed a similar number of militant attacks as Balochistan (103) but the number of deaths was lesser than Balochistan (117 deaths in erstwhile FATA compared to 170 in Balochistan), and 103 injured. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (other than the tribal districts) was the third most affected region which witnessed 59 militant attacks in which 63 people were killed and 59 injured. In Sindh, PICSS recorded 15 militant attacks in which 23 people were killed and 29 injured. In Punjab, militants carried out 10 attacks in which 10 people were killed 87 injured. Federal Capital Islamabad witnessed three militant attacks in which 3 people were killed while one person was killed in a single attack in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
PICSS Militancy Database shows that militant attacks went up during 2021 in almost all administrative regions of the country except Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan. Balochistan saw 110%, erstwhile FATA (KPK tribal districts) 27%, and KPK witnessed a 111% rise in militant attacks during the year 2021.
In the wake of escalating terror threat, Pakistani security forces had also stepped up their operations against the militants. PICSS Database shows that a 40 percent increase in security forces actions was recorded during the year 2021 compared with 2020. In total, the security forces conducted 205 reported actions/operations against the militants in which 188 militants were killed and 220 were arrested. The highest number of security forces actions were reported from Sindh province where 92 suspected militants were arrested and five were killed in 57 actions. At least 72 militants were killed in the tribal districts of KPK (erstwhile FATA) and 13 were arrested in 48 actions. KPK (other than tribal districts) witnessed 38 security forces actions in which 21 militants were eliminated and 43 arrested. The highest number of arrests after Sindh were reported from Punjab from where Pakistani security forces have arrested 56 militants while killing seven in 32 actions. The highest number of militant deaths in security forces actions were reported from Balochistan where 83 militants were killed and 13 arrested in 29 security forces actions.