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Global Terrorism Index: Pakistan Overtakes Afghanistan in Number of Terrorism Deaths, Balochistan Liberation Army Emerges as a Fastest Growing Group

According to the annual Global Terrorism Index (GTI) study, released by the Institute for Economics and Peace in Australia, Pakistan has surpassed Afghanistan as the country with the highest number of deaths due to terrorist attacks in South Asia, a position held by Afghanistan since 2017.

However, Afghanistan continued to top the overall Global Terrorism Index, while Pakistan’s rank was 6th, up three positions from 2021. India’s rank remained unchanged at 13.

Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) is the rebel group with the largest growth rate in Pakistan, where terror-related deaths have increased by 120%. The number of people killed as a result of terrorism in Pakistan increased dramatically to 643, which is the second-largest rise in the past year, as the number was 292 in the previous year. The number of deaths due to terrorism in Afghanistan in the same year was 633. As a result of the rapid increase in deaths, Pakistan has climbed four spots to rank sixth on the index.

The West African Country of Burkina Faso had the largest number of deaths globally, increasing from 759 to 1,135 in 2022. Pakistan was in 4th position in terms of the number of terrorism deaths, after Burkina Faso, Mali and Somalia.

Majority deaths are of military personnel

The military personnel accounted for at least 55% of all casualties due to terrorism in Pakistan. Similar to how the radical Taliban did in Afghanistan, the Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan (TTP) has been carrying out terrorist operations against Pakistani security forces in an effort to establish an Islamic state that complies with Sharia law.

BLA was accountable for 36% of all terrorism-related mortality in Pakistan, a nine-fold rise from the year before. With this, the outfit has surpassed the TTP as the nation’s most deadly militia group. While strikes in 2022 killed 7.7 persons on average, up from 1.5 the year before, BLA’s lethality rate has reached its highest level. 95% of the 233 deaths associated with BLA in 2022 were military personnel.

BLA’s gunmen, in 2022, bombed and opened fire at two separate security stations for the Frontier Corps in Pakistan in February of last year, which is when the group is reported to have carried its most severe assault. The group claimed responsibility for the attacks and that they had killed 195 soldiers in total throughout both operations, despite the fact that no official death toll was confirmed.

BLA’s fight to liberate Balochistan

The largest province of Pakistan, Balochistan, which shares borders with both Iran and Afghanistan, is claimed by BLA, a Baloch ethnonationalist organization, to be the object of their struggle for total liberation and independence. BLA has engaged in an armed conflict with Pakistan in support of the Baloch people’s purported right to self-determination.

The role of Islamic State of Khorasan

Terrorism is still predominantly centred near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, where 63% of attacks and 74% of killings occur. The surge in deaths across the country is the result of the TTP and the Islamic State of Khorasan’s (ISKP) increased terrorist activity.

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas witnessed 13 ISKP strikes along the Afghanistan border, followed by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) with eight, and Balochistan with two. The terror group’s bloodiest incursion in Pakistan, in 2022, took place in KP, where a suicide bomber targeted a Shia mosque during Friday prayers, killing at least 56 people.

Afghanistan most impacted by terrorism

Afghanistan remained the country most impacted by terrorism for the fourth consecutive year, despite attacks falling by 75% and deaths being reduced by 58% in 2022. The country recorded 633 deaths in 2022. The drop can largely be attributed to the Taliban taking control of the country after the fall of Kabul in August 2021.

The ISKP, which has been Afghanistan’s most active terrorist organisation since the Taliban took control, is accountable for 422 fatalities in 2022, approximately 67% of all terrorism-related deaths there.

The GTI is a composite measure made up of four indicators, including incidents, fatalities, injuries and hostages. The impact of terrorism within a particular nation is calculated using a five-year weighted average that takes into account the varying degrees of importance of the numbers in a data set. 

Pakistan experiences terrorist acts frequently. Five heavily armed ISKP terrorists stormed the Karachi Police Chief’s (KPO) five-story office building in Pakistan last month. The country is currently dealing with a massive economic crisis as well as precarious political situation.

Source : Opindia