Terrorist Attacks Continued Targeting Security Personnel In First Quarter Of 2023

Terrorist Attacks Continued Targeting Security Personnel In First Quarter Of 2023
In the first quarter of 2023, there has been a significant decrease in civilian fatalities, which dropped by 146% from 136 to 63. However, there has been a worrying trend of an increase in fatalities among security personnel, which rose by 79% from 88 in the 1Q of 2022 to 167 in the 1Q of 2023. This indicates that terrorist attacks are frequently targeting security personnel, and security measures may be less effective in preventing these attacks. Additionally, there has been a slight increase in fatalities among outlaws, which have risen by 8% from 120 to 128.

During this period, there were 172 terror attacks, resulting in 230 deaths and 483 injuries. In contrast, there were only 47 counter-terror operations, which resulted in 128 fatalities and 13 injuries. This suggests that terror attacks were more frequent than counter-terror operations, but counter-terror operations were more lethal, with an average of almost three fatalities per operation.

Of the 172 terror attacks, 30 were claimed by militants and insurgents, with 22 of these claimed by the TTP alone. These 22 attacks resulted in 107 fatalities and 295 injuries. Security personnel suffered 111 fatalities from terror attacks, mainly claimed by the TTP. In contrast, only 37 militants belonging to the TTP were eliminated during counter-terror operations, indicating that the operations were less effective than the TTP's terror attacks.

In Q2 2023, the country witnessed sabotage activities carried out by different groups. Outlaws were responsible for 31 attacks, damaging nearly 20 police stations and 10 government and private properties. The Ahmadi community's worship places were targeted in five attacks by common people, while PTI activists damaged 21 police vans during a protest against a police attempt to arrest former Prime Minister Imran Khan on non-bailable warrants.

In a concerning development, Sunni Muslims were the most targeted group in Q2 2023 for the first time in the last ten years. One of the four attacks on the Sunni community was highly fatalistic, resulting in 84 policemen (from the Sunni sect) dead and 217 injured. The Hindu community was the second-most affected group, with four attacks resulting in 2 fatalities and 31 injuries. Thirty of these injuries were suffered by Hindu students from Punjab University and Karachi University who were allegedly targeted by students from the Islami Jamiat-e-Tulba while they were celebrating the Holi festival. One attack against Shias resulted in one fatality and one injury. Another attack targeting Christians resulted in one fatality and one injury.

Overall, despite the slight increase in total fatalities from terrorism, the significant decrease in civilian fatalities is a positive development. However, the increase in security personnel fatalities highlights the need for continued efforts to combat terrorism and protect those who are on the front lines of defense against it.

The author is a freelance journalist and Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Research & Security Studies