October 3, 2023

PICSS September Security Assessment: Notable Findings

In September, a total of 65 militant attacks were reported in the country, resulting in 136 fatalities and 144 injuries. While there was a notable 34% reduction in the number of attacks compared to August, there was a concerning 21% increase in the number of deaths and a significant 66% rise in injuries. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) emerged as the most targeted region, with 23 attacks resulting in 34 deaths and 78 injuries. Balochistan, on the other hand, saw a substantial increase in fatalities, primarily due to a single attack in Mastung. Among those killed across the country, civilians accounted for 62%, while 19% each were security forces personnel and attacking militants. Among the injured, 53% were civilians, 29% were attacking militants, and 17% were security forces personnel.


Notable incidents included a TTP assault in Chitral, which was successfully repelled by security forces, resulting in the loss of four security personnel. Another significant attack occurred in Mastung during a celebration of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, where at least 54 individuals lost their lives and 25 others sustained injuries. This event raised suspicions of possible involvement by Daesh. Suicide attacks were responsible for the majority of damage, with three such incidents reported. Targeted killings were also prominent, accounting for 26 deaths, including 16 civilians and 10 security forces personnel. Guerilla attacks numbered 18, while there were 12 incidents involving improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The security forces have intensified their efforts against militants, contributing significantly to the reduction in attacks. They executed 37 notable operations, resulting in the deaths of 47 suspected militants and the arrest of 46, including high-priority targets. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), 13 operations led to the killing of 20 suspected militants and the apprehension of 19 others. Balochistan saw 16 militants being killed, while in the erstwhile FATA region, 11 were eliminated. Additionally, intelligence-based operations in Punjab resulted in the arrest of 24 suspected militants from various extremist groups. This indicates that these groups are actively trying to expand their influence, though their success has been limited so far. Despite heightened security measures during Ashura, attacks on the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) caught authorities off guard. 

In response to the Mastung bombing, Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti pledged a comprehensive operation to restore the state’s authority. He attributed the attack to the Indian intelligence agency RAW and vowed to strike not only at terrorists but also their facilitators and supporters. Army Chief Gen Asim Munir echoed this sentiment, denouncing the perpetrators as proxies of Pakistan’s enemies and affirming that they would face the full force of the state and security forces. This incident has spurred a hardening of Pakistan’s approach towards militant groups, with an emphasis on decisive, forceful action though a sustainable solution requires disrupting financial support, restricting movement, and countering extremist ideologies, as these factors play a crucial role in the ultimate eradication of terrorism from the country. 

To access the complete security assessment report

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