During the first half of 2023, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan emerged as the epicenters of terrorist attacks in Pakistan, accounting for 80% of the total casualties nationwide. Extremist groups carried out 176 attacks, resulting in the deaths of 284 individuals, including security personnel, and injuring 291 others. The total number of casualties, both killed and injured, reached 575 during this period.
A report issued by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) in Islamabad highlighted that incidents of terrorism also occurred in Islamabad, Punjab, and Sindh during the year.
Comparing the second quarter to the first quarter of 2023, there was a 21% decrease in deaths caused by violent incidents across the country, with 284 deaths reported in the second quarter. Balochistan witnessed a 14% increase in violent incidents during the same period, while Sindh experienced an 80% increase, Punjab saw a 55% increase, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reported a 20% increase.
The CRSS report further revealed that during the second quarter, the country witnessed 121 incidents of terrorism, resulting in 165 deaths and 191 injuries, including security personnel.
The report emphasized that there was a rise in terrorist attacks during the first half of the year, with almost daily attacks targeting security personnel. Out of the 121 incidents, 103 security personnel and 60 civilians lost their lives. The security forces conducted operations approximately every other day across the country.
According to retired Brigadier Syed Nazir, a defense analyst, the current situation poses significant challenges in combating terrorism. Previously, security agencies knew the locations in the tribal areas where terrorists were taking shelter, enabling targeted operations. However, the current war against terrorism lacks clear identification and direction. Terrorists have now infiltrated urban areas, blending in with civilian populations and utilizing sleeper cells. In this context, intelligence-based operations play a crucial role in combating terrorism, as the successes achieved so far have been the result of such operations.
Nazir further highlighted that terrorism in Pakistan has increased since the establishment of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan. Over the past two years, terrorist incidents have seen a 56% increase in the first year and a 60% increase in the second year, which is a cause for alarm. The weapons left by NATO forces in Afghanistan are now being used against Pakistani security personnel, who are being targeted at checkpoints and during patrols. The reduction in terrorist incidents during the second quarter of the year is attributed to the effectiveness of successful operations conducted during this period.