Surge in Militant Attacks in Pakistan

A group of fighters targeted an air force training base in central Pakistan’s Mianwali area. The troops foiled the attack, killing nine of the attackers, according to Pakistan’s military. 

A newly founded group called Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan (TJP), which has carried out a string of attacks in the country this year, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.

The attack comes a day after an ambush on a military convoy killed 14 soldiers in southwest Balochistan province. Also on Friday, a bomb and gun attack on a vehicle carrying police killed three people and wounded more than 20.

Violence has risen in Pakistan this year, and it is primarily linked to the increased activity of armed groups like the TJP and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a banned group ideologically aligned with the Afghan Taliban.

The country is also grappling with political and economic crises, which have led to a general decline in law and order.

Pakistan witnessed a sharp rise in militant attacks in August, with 99 incidents reported across the country, the highest number in any single month since November 2014. The attacks resulted in 112 deaths and 87 injuries, mostly among security forces personnel and civilians. There was an 83 percent rise in militant attacks compared with July, as 54 attacks were reported in July.

According to the data compiled by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), the month of August also saw four suicide attacks, three in tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and one in mainland KP. The month of July witnessed five suicide attacks, the highest in a year. Overall, the country has witnessed 22 suicide attacks
in the first eight months of 2023, in which 227 people have been killed and 497 injured.

PICSS data also shows that security forces responded effectively to the militant threat, averting many attacks, killing at least 24 militants, and arresting 69 others in various operations across the country.

The data shows that Balochistan and erstwhile FATA were the most affected regions by militant violence in August, compared to the previous month. Balochistan witnessed a 65% increase in militant attacks, from 17 in July to 28 in August, while FATA witnessed a 106% increase, from 18 in July to 37 in August. However, both regions also saw a decrease in fatalities, by 19% and 29%, respectively.

The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (excluding tribal districts) also saw a significant increase in militant attacks, from 15 in July to 29 in August, an 83% rise. The deaths and injuries also increased by 188% and 73%, respectively. The province was mainly targeted by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its splinter groups, who claimed responsibility for several attacks.

The province of Sindh witnessed a slight increase in militant attacks, from three in July to five in August. The deaths also increased from one to four.

The province of Punjab remained relatively peaceful, with no militant attacks reported in August. The only attack reported in July was a low-intensity blast near a police station in Lahore, which caused one injury.

The data also reveals that security forces remained the primary target of militant violence, accounting for 50% of the total deaths and 63% of the total injured. There was a 51 percent rise in fatalities among the security forces in August compared with July 2023.

It is worth noting that TTP alone claimed 147 attacks in August but most of them could not be verified through independent sources. PICSS only recorded verified incidents of terrorism.

The country is also grappling with political and economic crises, which have led to a general decline in law and order.