Last week in South Asia and Afghanistan, Taliban forces clashed with the Islamic State (IS) and the National Resistance Front (NRF) as armed groups targeted civilians from different Muslim groups. In Pakistan, Baloch separatists clashed with state forces, and unidentified militants targeted civilians, in Balochistan province; meanwhile, IS and unidentified armed groups engaged in remote violence and clashed with state forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In Sri Lanka, demonstrators stormed the residences of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe amid ongoing anti-government demonstration activity; Rajapaksa fled the country before resigning from the presidency. In India, IS, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and unknown militants clashed with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), while poll-related violence continued in Madhya Pradesh state. Elsewhere, violence broke out between rival members of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) over factionalism in Odisha state. In Bangladesh, the properties of Hindu community members were vandalized in Khulna division, while Bangladeshi nationals were shot by armed members of the Indian Khasi community near the India-Bangladesh border in Sylhet division.
In Afghanistan, IS attacked Taliban forces in Kunar province and in Kabul city with remote explosives last week, claiming to kill and injure at least seven Taliban members. IS militants also beheaded another Taliban member in Mazar-e-Sharif city of Balkh province. The Taliban, meanwhile, launched an operation against an IS hideout in Hazrati Imam Sahib district of Kunduz province, killing two militants. A child inside the hideout was also killed during the operation. Following a relative lull in recent months, violent confrontations between IS and the Taliban have been trending upwards. In June, ACLED records the largest number of armed interactions between IS and the Taliban since November 2021.
Additionally, NRF-Taliban clashes continued in Baghlan and Panjshir provinces last week. The NRF inflicted two dozen fatalities on the Taliban in Shutul and Hissa-e-Awal (Khinj) districts of Panjshir province. ACLED’s Subnational Threat Tracker had first warned of increased violence to come in the province in the past month. In Hissa-e-Awal (Khinj) district, Taliban forces conducted airstrikes following the clashes, though no casualties were reported. Similar to previous weeks, civilians bore the burden of these clashes, as Taliban forces reportedly arrested and tortured 30 residents in Khost Wa Firing district in Baghlan province following clashes in the region.
Meanwhile, armed groups targeted Muslim groups across the country last week, including members of Shiite and Salafi communities. In Puli Alam city, Logar, IS killed four members of a Shiite family inside their bakery. In Lashkargah city of Helmand, unknown perpetrators opened fire in a mosque, killing one worshipper and injuring two, while in Kabul city, the head of Salafi scholars in Afghanistan was shot dead by unidentified men. The Taliban also reportedly arrested Salafi adherents in Maimana city of Faryab province, allegedly forcing them to abandon Salafism (Human Rights Watch, 7 July 2022; Twitter @aamajnews_FA, 15 July 2022). While details of these events remain largely unknown, the Taliban is known to target Salafi groups due to links between some members of the Afghan Salafi community and IS (RFE/RL, 22 October 2021).
In Pakistan, Baloch separatists, IS, and unidentified armed groups clashed with state forces and carried out explosive attacks in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 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 Balochistan, the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) clashed with state forces last week, resulting in multiple fatalities. Meanwhile, unidentified militants conducted an IED explosion targeting a Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) senator in Dera Bugti district, injuring two of his security guards. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, IS and unidentified armed groups targeted security forces using remote explosives and engaged in armed clashes, resulting in multiple fatalities. ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker first warned of increased violence to come in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the past month. Violence in both Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is both common and highly volatile; they are both considered areas of ‘extreme risk’ by ACLED’s Volatility and Risk Predictability Index.
Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa resigned amid multiple outbreaks of violence during ongoing anti-government demonstrations in Sri Lanka last week. Demonstrators stormed the residences of President Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe in Colombo, setting fire to the latter’s residence, and prompting both officials to go into hiding (Al Jazeera, 11 July 2022). Demonstrators continued to occupy the offices of both President Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe for several consecutive days, vowing to stay put until the official resignation of the duo (Al Jazeera, 10 July 2022). Amid the demonstrations, violent clashes broke out between security forces and demonstrators in Colombo in Western province, resulting in one fatality and multiple reported injuries. These trends contribute to the 500% increase in violence in Western province over the past week relative to the past month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker. Meanwhile, Rajapaksa fled overseas before handing over his resignation through an email to the speaker of Sri Lanka’s parliament on 14 July (Al Jazeera, 13 July 2022; Al Jazeera, 14 July 2022), prompting a parliamentary vote on a new president to be scheduled for 20 July (Al Jazeera, 11 July 2022). On 20 July, the parliament elected six-time Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the eighth president of Sri Lanka (Al Jazeera, 20 July 2022).
In India, IS, JeM, and unknown militants clashed with security forces in J&K last week, resulting in the deaths of a soldier and two militants. ACLED’s Conflict Change Map first warned of increased violence to come in India in the past month.
Meanwhile, election-related violence continued in Madhya Pradesh state last week, amid the second phase of local elections, on 13 July. Multiple people were injured across separate clashes involving Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC) members. These clashes contributed to the 432% increase in violence in Madhya Pradesh in the past month relative to the past year flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Threat Tracker. The Subnational Tracker first warned of increased violence to come in Madhya Pradesh in the past month.
Elsewhere, in Odisha state, a BJD member shot and killed another BJD member, and injured another in Kendujhar district last week, over intra-political rivalry. The attack sparked destructive demonstrations by local residents who resorted to vandalism, targeting a police vehicle in the district. These trends contribute to the 100% increase in violence in Odisha over the past week relative to the past month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker.
In Bangladesh, Muslim community members vandalized temples, grocery stores, and houses of the Hindu community in Narail district in Khulna division last week. The outbreak of violence reportedly followed a Facebook post made by a member of the Hindu community, allegedly belittling Islam (The Hindu, 17 July 2022). ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker first warned of increased violence to come in Khulna in the past month.
Meanwhile, armed members of the Indian Khasi community shot and injured two Bangladeshi nationals near the India-Bangladesh border in Companiganj upazila of Sylhet division last week, when they went to collect grass from the border area. Other such incidents of cross-border attacks have occurred in the recent past, with multiple attacks reported in May. ACLED’s Emerging Actor Tracker flagged Khasi ethnic militias as an emerging actor over the past month in Bangladesh; the presence of emerging actors indicates a change in the conflict environment, with civilians often bearing the burden of such new activity.
Note: This dashboard automatically updates to cover the most recent data release. Use the date filters to view data for the period covered by this regional overview if necessary.