Last week in South Asia and Afghanistan, the Taliban and the National Resistance Front (NRF) engaged in fierce clashes in Panjshir in Afghanistan. In Paktia province, the brief opening and re-closure of girls’ schools triggered protests that were dispersed by Taliban forces. In Pakistan, the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), unidentified armed groups, and Baloch separatists engaged in armed clashes with state forces and conducted grenade and remote explosive attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces. In India, Islamist militants clashed with state forces in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), while Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters engaged in mob violence targeting rival political parties in Tripura state. In Bangladesh, the Myanmar military launched cross-border shelling into Chittagong division, while the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) continued demonstrations against growing inflation.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban launched operations in Panjshir province last week, clashing with the NRF for three days in Darah, Rukha, Unaba, Hissa-e-Awal (Khinj), and Bazarak districts. High numbers of fatalities were reported on both sides (Hasht-e Subh, 13 September 2022), with the Taliban also claiming to capture over 100 NRF fighters. A viral video of the apparent execution of some of the captured fighters by the Taliban has since emerged, prompting Taliban officials to state that they will investigate claims of extrajudicial executions (RFE/RL, 15 September 2022). Despite the capture of these fighters, local media report that Taliban operations in Panjshir have failed to contain the NRF, forcing the partial retreat of Taliban forces (Hasht-e Subh, 13 September 2022).
Meanwhile, students and teachers protested in response to the closure of girls’ schools in Paktia province last week. The schools had briefly opened despite the Taliban’s nationwide ban, before closing again due to the lack of formal permission from the Ministry of Education (Al Jazeera, 10 September 2022). Protests took place in Gardez city and Samkani district. Taliban officials dispersed both protests, arresting some demonstrating teachers and journalists covering the protests.
In Takhar province, local residents clashed with armed Kuchis in Khwaja Bahawuddin district, leaving two people dead and dozens injured. The clashes broke out after residents in Khwaja Bahawuddin district were forced to leave their houses to Kuchi nomads. The Kuchis, a semi-pastoral group of Pashtun origin from southern and eastern Afghanistan, have been relocating to the area with the backing of the Taliban, who largely share the same ethnicity with the Kuchis (Hasht-e Subh, 5 September 2022). These trends contribute to the 127% increase in weekly violent events in Takhar in the past month relative to the weekly average for the preceding year flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Threat Tracker. The Subnational Tracker also warned of increased violence in Takhar during the preceding four weeks.
In Pakistan, the TTP, unidentified armed groups, and Baloch separatists conducted attacks against state forces and civilian targets in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces last week. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, TTP militants from across the Afghanistan border targeted a Pakistan military checkpost in Kurram district, killing three soldiers. The TTP also conducted remote explosive and grenade attacks against both security forces and civilians, resulting in multiple reported fatalities. TTP attacks have resumed in recent weeks, despite an ongoing ceasefire agreement between the militant group and Pakistani state forces. Elsewhere in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Islamic State (IS) militants opened fire at a police convoy in Peshawar district, leaving three policemen injured. Violence in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is both common and highly volatile; it is considered an area of ‘extreme risk’ by ACLED’s Volatility and Risk Predictability Index.
In Balochistan, the Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) targeted security forces with grenades, remote explosives, and direct attacks, resulting in multiple soldier fatalities. Separatists also targeted civilians with a grenade attack in Quetta city, leaving at least one person dead and 13 injured.
In India, Islamist militants continued to engage in armed clashes with state forces in J&K last week. Multiple fatalities and injuries were reported across separate attacks involving militant groups, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGuH), and IS. Meanwhile, military forces of India and China disengaged from a frontline patrolling point in Leh district in Ladakh union territory. The disengagement process included the dismantling of infrastructure and the redeployment of troops to rear locations on respective sides of the border (Government of India, 13 September 2022). Several clashes between military forces of the two countries have been reported along the international border in Ladakh since May 2020.
Elsewhere, in Tripura state, BJP supporters engaged in attacks and vandalism targeting Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Indian National Congress (INC) supporters and property across several districts last week. The violence has been linked to ongoing attempts to establish political supremacy in the region. These trends contribute to the 188% increase in weekly violent events in Tripura in the past month relative to the weekly average for the preceding year flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Threat Tracker. The Subnational Tracker also warned of increased violence in Tripura during the preceding four weeks.
In Bangladesh, the military forces of Myanmar reportedly fired a mortar shell at a Rohingya camp close to the international border in Bandarban district in Chittagong division last week, resulting in the death of a Rohingya refugee and injuries to five others. The Myanmar military junta, however, claims that the mortar shell was fired by the United League of Arakan/Arakan Army (ULA/AA) and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) to destabilize bilateral relations between Myanmar and Bangladesh (United News of Bangladesh, 20 September 2022). A Bangladeshi national was also injured after a landmine, allegedly planted by the Myanmar army, exploded in Chittagong division along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. Other such incidents of cross-border violence have occurred in the recent past, with multiple attacks reported since August.
Meanwhile, BNP members continued their demonstrations against growing inflation last week, leading to the outbreak of clashes with government supporters and police. At least 100 BNP members were injured after clashes broke out between members of the BNP and members of the Bangladesh Awami League (AL), the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the Jubo League, and police in Dhaka and Sylhet divisions.
Note: This dashboard automatically updates to cover the latest four weeks of data released by ACLED. Use the date filters to view data for the one-week period covered by this Regional Overview.