Last week in South Asia and Afghanistan, the Islamic State (IS) and anti-Taliban groups continued to clash with the Taliban forces across the country, with incidents reported of civilians caught in the crossfire or being deliberately targeted during the clashes. In Pakistan, IS militants and unidentified armed groups targeted security forces and civilians in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, while Baloch separatists clashed with state forces in Balochistan. In India, unknown militants clashed with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Union Territory (UT). In Sri Lanka, violence broke out across several provinces amid ongoing anti-government demonstrations over the country’s worst economic crisis in decades. In Bangladesh, clashes were reported between rival political party supporters over factionalism and establishing political supremacy. Lastly, poll-related violence was recorded this week during local elections in both Suderpashchim province in Nepal and in Madhya Pradesh in India.
In Afghanistan, IS continued its attacks on Taliban forces last week. In Hazrati Imam Sahib district in Kunduz province, IS-planted explosives targeted a Taliban vehicle. Meanwhile, in Herat city, an IS clash with Taliban forces killed and wounded a total of 20 Taliban members as well as civilians caught in the crossfire. In Kabul city, the Taliban claims to have raided an IS hideout, killing two militants (Khaama Press, 7 July 2022). However, some sources claim that IS first attacked a Taliban checkpoint with rockets, and clashes followed (Shafaqna, 7 July 2022).
Clashes between Taliban forces and the National Resistance Front (NRF) also continued in Baghlan and Panjshir provinces. The NRF claims to have captured two areas from the Taliban in Khost Wa Firing district of Baghlan, though Taliban officials deny the claim (Afghan Islamic Press News, 8 July 2022). Similar to previous weeks, the Taliban targeted civilians in the region during these operations; they arrested 35 residents in Baghlan for providing food to the NRF (Etilaat e Roz, 7 July 2022), and displaced several families in Panjshir in order to set up military bases (Hasht e Subh, 8 July 2022). Violence in Panjshir is both common and highly volatile; it is considered an area of ‘extreme risk’ by ACLED’s Volatility and Risk Predictability Index.
Elsewhere, the National Liberation Front of Afghanistan claims an attack against the Taliban in Khan Abad district of Kunduz province, which reportedly killed 17 Taliban members.
In Pakistan, Baloch separatists, IS, and unidentified armed groups each clashed with state forces and carried out several explosive attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces last week. This violence contributed to the 60% increase in violence in Pakistan in the past month relative to the past year flagged by ACLED’s Conflict Change Map, which first warned of increased violence to come in the country in the past month.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, IS and unidentified armed groups targeted security forces using remote explosives and grenades, and engaged in armed clashes, resulting in multiple fatalities. Meanwhile, unknown militants continued to attack polio vaccination teams, causing several reported casualties in North Waziristan and Khyber districts. These trends contributed to the 200% increase in violence in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the past week relative to the past month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker. Elsewhere, in Balochistan, the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and the Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) engaged in armed clashes and targeted state forces using IEDs last week, resulting in multiple fatalities. Violence in both Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan is both common and highly volatile; they are both considered areas of ‘extreme risk’ by ACLED’s Volatility and Risk Predictability Index.
In India, unknown militants clashed with security forces in J&K last week, reportedly resulting in a soldier and a militant fatality. This violence contributed to the 62% increase in violence in India in the past month relative to the past year flagged by ACLED’s Conflict Change Map, which first warned of increased violence to come in the country in the past month.
Meanwhile, election-related violence broke out in Madhya Pradesh state last week, before and during the first phase of local elections held on 6 July. Multiple people were injured across separate clashes involving Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC) members. These clashes contributed to the 200% increase in violence in the state last week relative to the past month flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker, which first warned of increased violence to come in Madhya Pradesh in the past month.
In Sri Lanka, violence broke out across several provinces last week amid continuing demonstrations over fuel shortages and demands for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.1The storming of the presidential palace on 9 July and President Gotabaya Pajapaksa’s subsequent resignation will be covered in next week’s Regional Overview; this Regional Overview covers events through 8 July 2022. Demonstration activity in Sri Lanka has spiked since March 2022 as the country has been facing one of its worst economic crises in recent decades (for more, see ACLED’s infographic Sri Lanka: Increasing Debt, Increasing Demonstrations). Multiple violent incidents were reported in several districts between rioters, with some involving intervention by security forces. In one incident, one person was killed, and three others were injured, after two groups attacked each other in a fuel line at a gas station in Galle district in Southern province. While violence in Southern province has not been common, it has become increasingly volatile, resulting in a shift from a place of ‘low risk’ to being considered an area of ‘growing risk’ by ACLED’s Volatility and Risk Predictability Index.
In Bangladesh, clashes broke out between rival political party supporters in Barisal division last week over factionalism and establishing political supremacy. Multiple injuries were reported across separate clashes involving the Bangladesh Awami League (AL) and its student wing, Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL). These trends contributed to the 400% increase in violence in Barisal over the past week relative to the past month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker.
In Nepal, clashes broke out in Bajura district in Sudurpashchim province last week during local elections held on 7 July. Clashes involving supporters of different political parties, including the Nepali Congress (NC), were reported in the district. These trends contributed to the 200% increase in violence in the province over the past week relative to the past month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker.
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