Terrorism-linked fatalities in Pakistan hit unprecedented levels in 2023: Think tank reports

Kashmir Pakistani jihadists terrorists

Pakistan recorded an unprecedented spike in terrorism-related violence in 2023, with the total violence-related fatalities reaching a record six-year high, especially in the restive provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, according to two think tank reports.

According to the annual security report prepared by the Islamabad-based Centre for Rese­arch and Security Studies (CRSS), at least 1,524 violence-related casualties and 1,463 injuries from 789 terror attacks and counter-terror operations were recorded in Pakistan in 2023.

Those killed included nearly 1,000 civilians and security forces personnel.

The total fatalities number marks a record six-year high, exceeding the 2018 level and the highest since 2017, the report said on Sunday.

The CRSS said there has been a surge in violence and terror attacks in the country every year since 2021.It marked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces as the main centres of violence, leading to 90 per cent of all fatalities and 84 per cent of attacks, including incidents of terrorism and security forces operations, recorded during this period.In contrast, the Punjab and Sindh provinces jointly witnessed only 8 per cent fatalities in 2023.The report said that in 2023, the county recorded an alarming surge in violence of about 56 per cent — an unprecedented escalation in the last 10 years — with the overall number of fatalities increasing from 980 in 2022 to 1,524 in 2023.

This includes a staggering 57 per cent uptick in the Balochistan province and 55 per cent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.Punjab saw a 96 per cent rise in violence, though the number of fatalities was very low, followed by Sindh, where the fatalities increased by 26 per cent.The report also said that around 65 per cent of all violence-related fatalities recorded in 2023 resulted from terrorism, while the remaining 35 per cent from the security forces operations against the militants.It said that at least 586 terror attacks were carried out in the year in the country, of which only 17 per cent were claimed by the banned terror outfits such as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Baloch Liberation Army, Daish (Islamic State Khorasan) and others.

The country’s security forces conducted as many as 197 operations against terror groups in which 545 terrorists were killed.According to the report, the year also saw a rise in sectarian violence as acts of terrorism directed at religious communities and their places of worship resulted in the tragic loss of 203 lives, of which 88 were security officials.Another Islamabad-based think tank, the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), in its annual report, said that Pakistan witnessed another year of an unprecedented surge in militant attacks.The PICSS said that the country saw a staggering 69 per cent rise in attacks, an 81 per cent increase in resultant deaths, and a 60 per cent surge in the number of injured.

“The year 2023 witnessed at least 641 militant attacks across the country in which 974 people were killed and 1,351 injured. The year 2022 witnessed 380 militant attacks resulting in 539 deaths and 836 injuries… By combining militant attacks and security forces actions, the country saw over one thousand violent incidents in which 1,511 people were killed and 1,440 injured,” it said.As for militant attacks, the PICSS database shows that the average number of militant attacks per month rose from 32 in 2022 to 53 attacks per month in 2023, which is the highest monthly average in any year after 2015. 

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