ISLAMABAD: Conflict Monitoring Center has observed a significant decrease in number of militant attacks and deaths related to ongoing insurgencies in Pakistan. However, the militants have improved their target selection and acquired attention grabbing as well as tactically significant and successful operations during the month of August 2013. It has also observed a gradual increase in number of security forces actions against anti-state militants in Khyber Pakhtunekhwa and Baluchistan provinces.
During the month of August, 2013, 185 people lost their lives in militant attacks and security forces actions against the militants which includes 74 militants, 59 civilians, 50 security forces personal and 2 pro government Razakars. 288 people including 171 civilians, 106 security forces personal six militants and 5 pro government Razakars were wounded during the said period.
Highest number of militant attacks, subsequent deaths and counter insurgency operations were recorded in Baluchistan, making it most affected province of the country followed by Khyber Pakhtunekhwa. 135 people were killed in 49 insurgency related incidents in Baluchistan including 27 militant attacks and 22 security forces actions. The dead include 35 security forces personnel, 43 civilian and 57 militants. Majority of the security forces personnel killed ( 70% i.e. 35 out of 50) and injured (76% i.e. 81 out of 106) during the month of August lost their lives in Baluchistan, making it most deadly province of the country for security personnel during the period.
The militants carried out 27 actions in Baluchistan, 16 in KPK, 15 in FATA, 6 in Sindh, one each in Islamabad and Gilgit killing 94, 8, 16, 16, 1 and three people respectively. The lone attack in Gilgit was a spectacular one in which one Colonel of Pak Army along with a SSP Police was killed. These officers were investigating the Naga Parbat incident in which militants of TTP had targeted foreigner tourists. The forces have arrested 14 suspected militants of TTP during search operations in northern areas.
During August 2013, the militants carried out two suicide attacks killing 35 people out them 30 were killed in Quetta when a suicide bomber had blown himself up during funeral ceremony of a slain police officer. The blast deprived police department off from senior most police officials including Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Police Operations Fayyaz Sumbal, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Headquarters Shamsuddin and Superintendent Ali Mehr. Sixty people, mostly policemen were also injured in the blast. The militants also used IEDs (home/self-made bombs) and physical attacks along with grenade attacks, rocket attacks, target killing and kidnapping in their actions against the state. IEDs and physical assaults constitutes majority of the militant attacks in August.
Civilians continue to bear the consequences of the ongoing war-on-terror, 59 of them lost their lives and 171 wounded during the month of August. Unlike security forces, the government has no set mechanism to compensate the civilian victims of the war-on-terror. During August, 43 civilians lost their lives in Baluchistan, 13 in Sindh, 2 in FATA and one in KPK.
Security forces beefed up their activities against the militants in Punjab. 412 suspects were detained during a three day long search operation in Lahore however, most of them were released after obtaining their identities. 267 suspects were arrested in rest of Pakistan including 142 from Baluchistan, 14 from Gilgit, 6 from Islamabad, 2 from Sindh and 23 from FATA. The militants kidnapped four people during the month. Overall, the security forces conducted 64 actions against anti-state insurgents in different parts of the country killing 47 militants. The forces conducted 23 such actions in KPK and 22 in Baluchistan. 87 percent (41 out of 47) militants were killed in Baluchistan in security forces actions. The forces also recovered an explosive laden auto Rikshwa from Quetta besides defusing two bombs.
In KPK, only four militants were killed in security forces actions while one each was killed in Punjab and Sindh. Major focus of security forces actions in KPK was to trace and avert militant attacks in the province. Khyber Pakhtunekhwa Police with the help of other intelligence agencies foiled ten IED (Improvised Explosive Device, commonly known as home/self-made bombs) attacks in KPK. Peshawar Police also recovered 100 kg explosive material and averted a catastrophic attack.
Provincial capitals of all the four provinces of the country witnessed highest number of insurgency related actions/activities with respect to other districts of that province. Quetta witnessed highest number of militant attacks in any district of the country followed by Peshawar.
Although the month saw significant decrease in militant attacks during August 2013 however, the target selection by the militants has improved considerably. The ability to acquire specific targets demonstrates that despite claims by the security forces and government officials that they have broken the ‘backbone’ of the militancy, the command and control structure of TTP and Baloch militants is fully intact. Targets such as joint investigative team in Chillas, police officers participating in funeral prayers, Jaffer Express, DI Khan Jail are classic examples of sophistication in target selection.