Pakistan

Security Forces Casualties in Pakistan Reach Eight-Year High

In the ongoing battle against terrorism, Pakistan has witnessed a significant increase in security forces casualties. According to a report by The News, approximately 386 personnel, including 137 army and 208 police officers, have lost their lives in the first nine months of 2023. This figure marks an eight-year high, with the majority of these fatalities occurring in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

RIsing Violence

The Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) report for Q3 2023 reveals that there have been 1,087 violence-related fatalities so far this year. Out of these, 368 (34%) were outlaws, while civilians accounted for 333 (31%) of the fatalities.

The report highlights a consistent and alarming increase in violence in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan. These two provinces have seen a disturbing upward trend over the last five years. In 2019, they suffered 72% of all fatalities, and this figure surged to a staggering 92% in the first nine months of 2023.

Third Quarter Statistics

During the third quarter of 2023 alone, nearly 445 people lost their lives and 440 were injured in 190 terror attacks and counter-terror operations. KP and Balochistan were the epicenters of this violence, accounting for nearly 94% of fatalities and 89% of attacks.

This quarter also saw an alarming surge in violence by about 57%, with the overall number of fatalities increasing from 284 in Q2 to 445 in Q3 of 2023. This includes a staggering 131% uptick recorded in Balochistan and a 28% increase in KP.

Impact on Civilians

Civilians bore the heaviest brunt of violence during the outgoing quarter. They constituted 58% of all casualties, followed by security personnel who suffered nearly 23%. The outlaws suffered the least; constituting only about 20% of all casualties during this period.

Record High Fatalities

The first nine months of 2023 reveal some alarming trends with regard to security forces’ losses. First, with 386 lives lost so far into the year, their fatalities have hit a record eight-year high, exceeding the level seen in 2016 and marking the highest since 2015. Second, their percentage of fatalities among other victims of violence recorded this year (nearly 36%) has also hit a record eleven-year high. And third, the period from 2021 onwards records a constant rise in the number of fatalities.

The escalating violence and increasing casualties among security forces underscore the severity of the terrorism problem facing Pakistan. The situation calls for urgent measures to protect both civilians and security personnel. It also highlights the need for more effective strategies to combat terrorism and ensure peace and stability in the region.

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