CONTENT PREVIEW
Terrorism & Insurgency

Pakistani separatist groups likely to be increasingly active despite sustained decline in nationwide NSAG attacks since 2014

21 January 2019
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Pakistani security forces take measures outside the Chinese consulate after an armed attack in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi in November 2018. Source: Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Key Points

  • Data gathered by Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre (JTIC) show that there were 264 attacks across the country last year, a year-on-year decrease of 28%.
  • The data underlines that Islamist militant groups continue to struggle to reorganise following military operations against their strongholds in 2014, reducing the frequency and capability of their attacks.
  • Overall, we expect the terrorism risk to airports, ports, hotels, infrastructure and government installations to reduce further over the coming year, however there is an increasing risk of separatists staging suicide assaults or IED attacks against restaurants and hotels frequented by Chinese nationals in Balochistan and Sindh.

Event

Non-state armed group (NSAG) activity continued to decline for a fourth consecutive year in Pakistan over 2018.

Data gathered by Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre (JTIC) show that there were 264 attacks across the country last year, a year-on-year decrease of 28%. A total of 660 people – including attackers – were killed in these incidents, representing a decline of 29% in nationwide terrorism-related fatalities in 2018 compared with 2017. Attacks were largely targeted against security forces and religious minorities, mostly involving the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and lone suicide bombings.

The decline of NSAG activity in Pakistan is rooted in the Pakistani military’s counter-terrorism operations against militant strongholds in the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in 2014; since then, overall attacks have declined by 77% in the country. Attacks also declined on a regional level, including in all four of the country’s provinces; Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. In Punjab, NSAG activity nearly halved over 2018. Balochistan, however, experienced the most attacks with 99 attacks last year, compared with 123 in 2017. As a result of the notable improvement in the security situation in FATA, the Pakistani federal government began transitioning control of the territory to the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in May 2018.

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