Upward Trend in Militant Attacks Marks Start of the Year 2016


569f466dcdd12Islamabad: February 3, 2016

A slight increase in militant attacks has been observed in January 2015 with escalation in high profile attacks, according to the monthly security assessment report by an Islamabad based think tank, Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies.  According to PICSS militants managed to carry out some major attacks in January 2016 across the country but resultant deaths were comparatively low. Sudden rise in suicide attacks is also observed as the militants managed to carry out three suicide attacks during the month of January which is highest since October 2015. Escalation in militant attacks is observed in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh while a decline is observed in Punjab though it is not much significant as only three militant attacks were recorded in December 2015 and one in January 2016.

According to the report, a total number of 56 militant attacks occurred in the month of January, 2016 killing 102 people. Deaths included 38 Security forces personnel, 4 Razakars, 13 militants and 47 civilians. Among the 56 militant activities that took place in the month of January Baluchistan remained most hit by 25 militant attacks in the month. After Baluchistan, KPK witnessed 13 militant attacks while FATA faced 9 attacks.  However in Sindh 7 militant activities were recorded and in Punjab only one such militant activity was recorded by PICSS. In December last year 96 people were killed in 39 militant attacks which was lowest number of militant attacks in a single month since 2008. Start of the year 2016 with upward trend in militant attacks is point of serious concern for the government.

Balochistan once again topped the chart of anti-State militant attacks with  25 militant activities included 6 IEDs, 9 physical assaults, 3 incidents of target killing, 1 rocket attack and 2 suicide attacks. In these militant activities 45 people were killed which included 27 Security forces personnel, 9 civilians and 9 militants. After Baluchistan, KPK was most hit province with 13 militant attacks in which 30 people were killed. In KPK, 2 incidents of Grenade attacks, 3 IEDs, 4 physical assaults and 4 incidents of target killing were recorded by PICSS. In FATA, only 9 such anti-state violence activities were recorded with 4 IED’s, one suicide attack, one mortar attack and only one physical assault. Security situation in FATA is much better due to Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Operation Khyber I & II.  In Sindh, 7 militant activities were seen with 2 cracker attacks, 2 grenade attacks, one incident of physical assault and 2 incidents of target killing.

It is important to note that in the month of January militants managed some high profile attacks across the country. On January 13, one major suicide attack in Quetta killed at least 15 people and 25 injured outside a polio eradication centre. Two militant groups TTP and Jundullah claimed the responsibility of the attack. Another major attack by militants was in Khyber Agency, Jamrud area occurred on 19th of January, 2016 in which 12 persons including a journalist, were killed while 39 others sustained injuries. A suicide bomber had targeted the tribal Khassadar force in the Karkhano Market close to the Peshawar boundary with Khyber Agency. One of the most dreadful attack on an educational institution happened after almost one year and one month of APS in which militants yet again managed to create fear for educational institutions and attacked soft targets in Bacha Khan University in Charsadda. In this attack 20 students were killed and 35 injured while TTP Darra Adem Khel claimed responsibility of the attack on university. Militants also attempted an IED attack on home minister of Baluchistan Sarfraz Bugti near Dera Bugti but he remained safe.

In January, 2016 security forces continued their operation against militants. A total number of 169 security forces actions were carried out in which 96 militants were killed and 580 arrests were made.