Security improves in FATA

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KHYBER AGENCY: A slight improvement in security has been noticed during the second quarter of 2017, since violent incident declined by 19 percent, compared to the first quarter of 2017, FATA security report revealed.
In its quarterly FATA Security Report issued, the FATA Research Centre stated that a total of 100 violent incidents – both terrorism and counter terrorism – were reported in the second quarter, compared to 119 violent incidents reported during the first quarter of 2017. Out of these 100 incidents, 37 were terrorist attacks while 63 related to various counter terrorism actions.
In terms of breakdown, 18 terrorist attacks (49 percent) targeted the security forces while 15 attacks (40 percent) were directed against civilians, the report reads. Similarly, three terrorist attacks (8 percent) targeted members of Amn Lashkar. Only one incident of infighting between terrorist groups was also report during the second quarter of 2017.
On the other hand, there has been a slight increase in counter-terrorism operations by the Pakistani security forces who conducted 61 operations during the second quarter, compared to the first quarter of 2017, in which 60 CT operations were conducted. Three drone strikes by the US against terrorists in Orakzai and North Waziristan Agency respectively were also reported during the second quarter.
During the second quarter, a total of 309 casualties – 110 killed and 197 injured – were reported across FATA. Out of them, 204 (70 killed and 134 injured) were civilians casualties which accounted for 60 percent of the overall casualties. This is almost similar to the first quarter of 2017 in which 72 civilians were killed while 164 were injured.
The high number of civilian casualties during the second quarter is attributed to a twin suicide attack in a market in Parachinar, headquarters of the Kurram Agency, on 24 June 2017, in which 45 people were killed and more than 100 were injured.
Terrorist outfits like the Islamic State of Khorasan (IS-K), Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), TTP-Jamat-ul-Ahrar and Lashker-e-Jhangvi remained active during the second quarter 2017. The improvised explosive device (IED) attacks remained the most preferred mode of terrorist tactics, since they formed 43% of the total attacks. Similarly, six cross-border attacks by Pakistani terrorists based inside Afghanistan were also reported during the second quarter. Four incidents of target killing and two suicide attacks were also reported during the second quarter of 2017.
Irfan U Din, security analyst at the FATA Research Centre said that terrorist attacks had increased significantly since the start of the year 2017. Terrorist attacks in the second quarter of 2017 were 37 percent higher than the same period during the previous year. This signifies the growing operational capacity of terrorist groups after regrouping and re-establishing their networks in neighboring Afghanistan.
“There has been more inter-group coordination between various terrorist outfits in FATA, and growing operational capacity of the terrorists’ groups’ points towards the presence of sleeping cells of these terrorist outfits in the FATA region, particularly in areas bordering Afghanistan”, added Mr. Irfan.
The sleeping sells provided logistic support to terrorist groups currently based in Nengarhar, Khost, Paktika, Paktia, Helmand, Qandahar and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan to carry out terrorist incidents inside Pakistan”, added Mr. Irfan.

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