ISLAMABAD: Banned groups, including the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K), and Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), were responsible for more than 82% of terrorism-related fatalities and conducted 78% of recorded terrorist attacks in 2023, according to the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies’ (PIPS) Security Report. The findings indicate a concerning trend of intensifying attacks, particularly by the TTP and its affiliates, suggesting a continued focus on terrorism to pressure Pakistan into reinstating dialogue processes.
The report comes amid revelations from Pakistan’s interior ministry about a continuous influx of TTP members in significant numbers, engaging in recruitment, training, and deploying suicide bombers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s merged districts. With general elections just over a month away, this raises concerns about the security of electoral candidates and political leaders during the campaign and polling.
Military sources attribute the uptick in terror attacks to Afghanistan’s failure to fulfill its commitments under the Doha agreement, allowing the TTP to use Afghanistan as a base for activities inside Pakistan. The challenging and porous Pak-Afghan border complicates efforts to control illegal movements effectively.
The PIPS report criticizes Pakistan’s inadequate response to the rising terrorism challenge, exacerbated by unsuccessful negotiation attempts with the TTP and waning political focus due to ongoing crises. Escalating tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan, fueled by issues like the TTP and Afghan refugees, demand a comprehensive and sustainable counterterrorism strategy.
In 2023, security forces conducted 129 operational strikes, resulting in 425 deaths and 51 injuries. The report notes a 17% increase in terrorist attacks compared to the previous year, with significant rises in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, and Punjab. Experts highlight the need for addressing root causes, advocating fair policies to address disappearances and prevent misuse by militants to decrease support for insurgent ideologies.