An overview of these attacks paints a grim picture of the state of security in the country. Despite the launch of two major military operations this year — country-wide Raddul Fasaad and Khyber 4, which focused primarily on Rajgal Valley — the South Asian Terrorism Portal reports at least 484 civilians and 145 security forces’ personnel were killed in various incidents of terror across the country.
A total of at least 400 people were killed in the major terror attacks this year which are highlighted in each of the tabs in this report.
The follow-up to a majority of the largest attacks this year also highlights the state’s knee-jerk response to terror instead of preemptive measures.
For instance, in the case of the terror attack targeting Peshawar’s Agricultural Training Institute, a senior superintendent police told DawnNews that although police were told the hostel was among the more vulnerable areas in the city, it had not been adequately secured. The police’s response after the attack was reported, however, was swift.
Though security is almost always ‘bumped up’ at the sites of the attack, the same areas continue to be targeted, as in the case of Parachinar — a town in Kurram Agency that has seen repeated terror attacks over the last 10 years.
The majority of the attacks in this report targeted security forces, not civilians. Jamaatul Ahrar this year declared open season on security forces, threatening a nationwide campaign targeting civil and armed forces, judiciary, media and political parties.
Interestingly, attacks orchestrated by the militant Islamic State (IS) had the greatest number of casualties this year, despite top civil and military officials’ repeated denial of their presence in the country.
IS-claimed attacks took the lives of 160 people. Jamaatul Ahrar-claimed attacks killed 104. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami only claimed two attacks this year — both in Parachinar — and killed 92.
Another interesting takeaway from the data is that although the TTP claimed the greatest number of attacks, the combined death toll came to 79. Their attacks mostly targeted security forces and law enforcement personnel and, although high in frequency, took fewer lives than those carried out by other groups.
With respect to the pie chart above, it is pertinent to note that two of the attacks were claimed by two groups each — Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami (LeJ-A) and TTP jointly claimed responsibility for an attack on Parachinar’s Sabzi Mandi; Jamaatul Ahrar and IS both claimed responsibility for an attack near the Balochistan police chief’s office in Quetta.
Tragically, the largest proportion of victims of terrorism were killed in attacks on places of worship this year.
As the Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor addressed a press conference on Dec 28, he spoke mostly of Pakistan’s response to the United States and regional tensions and security.
He did, however, speak of a “greater focus on Balochistan”, confessing that the military was unable to secure the province with the speed and efficacy required. This much is evident from the number of attacks targeting police officials in Balochistan.
“When we started action in Fata, the troublemakers turned to Balochistan,” he observed.