Terrorist and insurgent assaults in Pakistan claimed the lives of 282 security services personnel in 2022, according to numbers published by the Islamabad-based non-government Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) (CRSS). According to the Institute of Conflict Management in Delhi, this is six times the number of Indian security officers (47). (ICM).

Threat to Pakistan has increased, notably from jihadists operating along its northwest borders, but in India, insurgencies have become less deadly over the past two decades, with security force fatalities progressively declining from a peak of 883 in 2001, according to ICM statistics.

“Levels of violence in Pakistan are still far lower than they were in 2009, at the peak of its conflict against terrorist groups in its northwest,” says Ajai Sahni, director of the ICM. “There has been a significant uptick in violence since the Taliban took power in Kabul, though.”

Few reliable sources exist outside non-governmental groups like CRSS regarding data on armed conflicts in Pakistan. The Ministry of Home Affairs in India publishes an annual report with statistics on domestic conflicts; the report for 2016 is yet forthcoming.

While there is inconsistency in India reports, with the 2021-22 report excluding any data on Maoist violence, the overall numbers are consistent with those from the ICM.

The ICM put the number of security personnel killed in Pakistan last year at 379, which is more than the CRSS’s 258.

“The ICM gathers its information entirely from open-source data, like newspapers and digital media,” says Sahni. The CRSS data fails to identify its origin, and the organisation did not respond to ThePrint’s request for clarification.

Deadly December for Pakistan

Given the vast demographic and territorial contrasts between the two countries, the amount of violence in India and Pakistan stands in stark contrast.

The CRSS found that most violence in Pakistan took place in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan and was committed by jihadist groups such as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which is influenced by and linked with the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the Islamic State. Pakistan experienced its worst month ever in December.

The report states that after a truce with the TTP ended on November 28, “an unprecedented wave of terrorist violence erupted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, with more than two dozen assaults in December alone.”

The CRSS estimated 311 civilian deaths in Pakistan due to terrorism and insurgency in 2018, while the ICM estimates 229 deaths. Both numbers are considerably greater than India’s 97.

According to ICM data, there were just 30 deaths among security forces and another 30 among civilians in Kashmir last year.

Historical trends

Since 2009, when the CRSS first started publishing conflict data, 1,012 security force personnel, 2,154 civilians, and 7,884 rebels and terrorists have been killed in Pakistan. The growth of the TTP drove the violence.

According to a paper by American political scientist Neta Crawford published in 2015, fighting in Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region between 2001 and 2014 caused enormous population displacement and destroyed entire towns.

The CRSS reports a total of 193 deaths among security force members in 2019, and another 163 are expected in 2020. Afterward, in 2021, the number increased to 270, which was blamed on “the success of the Taliban in Afghanistan that had bolstered the morale of Pakistani militants operating from within outside of the nation,” as stated by the Islamabad-based conflict monitoring organisation.

Pakistan has had higher insurgency and terrorist killings than India continuously. ICM predicts a total of 132 security force deaths in India in 2019, 106 in 2020, and 104 in 2021. Civilian deaths were also lower than they had been in Pakistan.

Source: The Print