Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Attacks In Pakistan More Than Tripled Between 2021 And 2023, Following Taliban Takeover Of Afghanistan

By: Mantasha Ansari*
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January 19, 2024
By: Mantasha Ansari*

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here. 

This report presents a comparative analysis of terror attacks executed by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) from 2021 to 2023.

While the TTP has been conducting terror attacks for a long time in Pakistan, the year 2021 was significant. In mid-August that year, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA, i.e., the Afghan Taliban) came to power after a two-decade jihad against the United States and NATO forces in Afghanistan. After August 2021, TTP attacks in Pakistan rose sharply.

In June 2023, the Pakistani newspaper Dawn published a report saying that the number of terror attacks had increased by 73 percent during the first 21 months since the Afghan Taliban came to power on August 15, 2021.[1] According to the newspaper, the number of people killed in terror attacks during the 21-month period from August 2021 to April 2023 rose by 138 percent.[2] The Dawn report included all terror attacks, not only those by TTP.


The TTP's annual infographic report for 2023.

However, TTP's own reports also showed that its attacks had multiplied greatly since August 2021. During 2021, the TTP carried out 282 terror attacks, resulting in the killing of 509 security men and wounding 463 others.[3] An infographic report released in January 2022 by TTP noted that most of the 282 attacks were carried out in North Waziristan, Bajaur Agency, and South Waziristan, with, respectively 81, 62, and 33 attacks.

The infographic also differentiated among "types of attacks" conducted by TTP fighters during the year. The attacks included three Istishhadi (martyrdom-seeking) attacks, 77 bombings, 44 guerrilla attacks, 46 sniper attacks, 41 targeted attacks, 32 offensive attacks, 32 ambushes, and seven missile attacks. The figure for 2021 showed that the highest number of terror attacks were conducted in the months of August, September, and December, recording 32, 37, and 45 attacks respectively.

In the next year, 2022, the TTP executed 367 terror attacks, killing and wounding 1,015 members of Pakistan's security forces, according to an infographic report it released in January 2023.[4] This means TTP's attacks in Pakistan increased from 282 attacks in 2021 to 367 in 2022. Out of the total casualties in the year 2022, the number of slain Pakistani security forces was 446, and the number of wounded security forces was 569. In the infographic, the TTP claimed that its fighters had captured 48 Pakistani security personnel during the year.

The annual infographic showed that in 2022, 73 attacks were conducted in North Waziristan, 56 in South Waziristan, 33 in Dera Ismail Khan, 32 in Khyber tribal district, 21 in Lakki Marwat, 19 in Bajaur tribal district, 18 in Peshawar, 18 in Bannu, and 10 each in Kurram district and Tank. The TTP carried out nine attacks each in Kohat, Mardan, and Charsadda, and eight in Mohmand tribal district, seven in Chitral, six in Nowshera, four each in Chaman and Quetta, and three each in Karak and Swat, two each in Pashin, Karachi, Orakzai and Islamabad, and one each in Zhob, Mianwali, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Darra Adamkhel, Hangu, and Kuchlak.


Shari Baloch was highly educated and a mother of two children.

The figures for 2022 showed that the highest number of terror attacks was conducted in the months of March, November, and December, recording 54, 59, and 69 attacks respectively. During the year, the three regions most affected were North Waziristan, South Waziristan and Dera Ismail Khan, recording 73, 56, and 33 TTP attacks respectively.

Regarding the types of attacks conducted by its fighters, the TTP infographic indicated that there were five Ishtishhadi ("martyrdom-seeking") attacks, 147 retaliatory attacks, 55 grenade and bomb blasts, 42 targeted attacks, 32 sniper and laser gun attacks, 31 ambushes, 29 offensive attacks, and 26 guerrilla attacks.

The year 2022 was also notable for a major terror attack executed by Shari Baloch, a female suicide bomber who killed three Chinese nationals and a Pakistani van driver at the University of Karachi.[5] The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for the attack and its spokesman Jeeyand Baloch said: "The mission was carried out by the first female fidayee (i.e., suicide bomber) of the Brigade. Fidayee [martyrdom-seeking bomber] Shari Baloch, alias Bramsh, today added a new chapter in the Baloch resistance history."[6] She was a mother of two children and had multiple graduate degrees.[7] Although BLA claimed responsibility, Pakistani analysts said that there was some links between BLA and TTP because the former was not known for carrying out suicide attacks.[8]

During 2023, the third year of this analysis, the TTP claimed to have executed a staggering number of 881 terror attacks, showing a sharp rise from 367 in 2022 and an increase of over 300 percent from the 282 attacks in 2021. On December 30, 2023, Umar Media, the official media arm of TTP, released an infographic report detailing its operations during 2023.[9] According to the infographic, the 881 attacks executed by the TTP mujahideen resulted in 2,193 security forces members killed and wounded. Out of the total, 977 were killed and 1218 were injured. The TTP fighters also captured 23 security forces members during the year, a drop from the 48 captured in 2022.

The infographic reports also discussed various types of attacks by TTP mujahideen. The attacks included at least five istishhadi attacks, and 123 guerrilla attacks. It also identified 206 as "laser"[10] attacks, 114 as ambushes, 107 as counterattacks, 96 as grenades or bombing, 82 as targeted attacks, 19 as missile attacks, among others.

The infographic showed that most of the 881 attacks were conducted in North Waziristan, South Waziristan, and Khyber Agency, recording respectively 208, 152, and 119 attacks. It also revealed that July, August, and September of 2023 were the worst months for the Pakistani security forces, recording 101, 146, and 105 attacks, respectively.

Perhaps the year's largest terror attack was executed on July 12, 2023, at the Zhob military garrison in Balochistan province, in which at least nine soldiers were killed.[11] The TTP also carried out a major attack at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base in Mianwali, killing 17 members of Pakistan's armed forces.[12] A newly created terror group, Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan, claimed the attacks in Mianwali and Zhob, but Pakistani writers wrote that this was carried out by the TTP.[13]


The TTP's annual infographic report for 2022.

When looking at the figures for all three years, it appears North Waziristan and South Waziristan are two districts where TTP executed the highest numbers of attacks. For example, in North Waziristan, TTP conducted 81 attacks in 2021, and 73 in 2022, and 208 in 2023. Similarly, in South Waziristan, the numbers of TTP attacks in 2021, 2022, and 2023 were 33, 56, and 152 respectively.

The other districts where TTP attacks were centered included Bannu, Khyber, and Dera Ismail Khan. In Bannu, TTP carried out 14 in 2021, 18 in 2022, and 24 in 2023. In Dera Ismail Khan, the TTP conducted 11, 33, and 80 attacks in 2021, 2022, and 2023, respectively. Although these districts showed a high number of attacks by the TTP, it can be said that all districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have witnessed a significant number of TTP attacks over the years.

Attacks In Pakistan By Terrorist Groups Other Than The TTP

The above statistics are based on the claims by the TTP. However, the TTP is not the only jihadi organization which executes terror attacks in Pakistan. The other terrorist groups are the Islamic State Khurasan Province (ISKP), the Baloch Liberation Army, and others. These organizations also regularly execute terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

In January 2024, the Pakistani newspaper The News published a report based on statistics from the Centre for Research and Security Studies, a research institute based in Islamabad, writing: "2023 was the deadliest year for security forces in a decade, as they lost more than 500 personnel in terrorist bombings and ambushes. The grim statistics from 2023 can be compared only to 2014."[14]


The TTP's annual infographic report for 2021.

*Mantasha Ansari is a Research Assistant at MEMRI's South Asia Studies Project.

 

[1] Dawn.com (Pakistan), June 1, 2023.

[2] Dawn.com (Pakistan), June 1, 2023.

[5] The News International (Pakistan), April 27, 2022.

[9] Telegram, December 30, 2023.

[10] Though the precise meaning is not clear, the word "laser" has been used in similar contexts in the past to refer to sniper attacks using thermal night-vision goggles.

[11] Dawn.com (Pakistan), July 12, 2023.

[12] Tribune.com.pk (Pakistan), November 4, 2023.

[13] Dawn.com (Pakistan), July 15, 2023.

[14] The News On Sunday (Pakistan), January 7, 2024.


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