Suicide attacks highest in 2023

By Ikram Junaidi

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan witnessed the highest number of suicide attacks since 2014 during this year, with nearly half of them targeting the security forces.

According to statistics released by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) regarding suicide attacks in 2023, the country experienced a disturbing surge in such attacks, reaching the highest level since 2014.

As many as 48 per cent of deaths and 58pc of injuries were inflicted upon security forces personnel. “A staggering 29 suicide attacks were reported, resulting in the tragic loss of 329 lives and leaving 582 individuals injured.

This marks the highest death toll since 2013 when 683 people lost their lives in 47 suicide bombings,“ it stated.

Comparing the data to the preceding year, 2022, report reveals a distressing 93pc increase in the number of suicide attacks, a shocking 226pc rise in resultant deaths, and a troubling 101pc surge in the number of injured individuals.

Furthermore, the share of suicide attacks in the total number of attacks escalated from 3.9pc in 2022 to 4.7pc in 2023, underscoring the severity of the situation.

Area-wise details

Delving into regional specifics, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) bore the brunt of these attacks, reporting 23 instances that resulted in 254 fatalities and 512 injuries. Within KP, newly merged districts or erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) experienced 13 suicide attacks, leading to 85 deaths and 206 injuries. Balochistan faced five attacks, causing 67 deaths and 52 injuries, while Sindh witnessed one suicide attack resulting in eight deaths and 18 injuries.

The data further reveals that security forces were the primary targets of these attacks, with civilians constituting the second-largest victim category.

A visual representation in the form of pie charts illustrates that 48pc of deaths and 58pc of injuries were inflicted upon security forces personnel.

Examining the historical trajectory, PICSS’s militancy database indicates a notable decline in suicide attacks from 30 in 2014 to a mere three in 2019. There was no significant surge in 2020 and 2021, as both years witnessed only four attacks each.

The year 2022 witnessed a sudden and significant surge, recording 15 attacks resulting in 101 deaths and 290 injuries and this worrisome trend persisted into 2023.

Source: Dawn, December 25th, 2023.