Last week in South Asia and Afghanistan, a bomb explosion targeted Muslim worshippers in Kabul in Afghanistan, while the Taliban attacked civilians across the country. Meanwhile, anti-Taliban groups continued to clash with Taliban forces. In Pakistan, Islamist militants and unidentified armed groups clashed with state forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Meanwhile, Baloch separatists carried out grenade and remote explosive attacks in Balochistan province. In India, Popular Front of India (PFI) members held demonstrations across Kerala state against National Investigation Agency (NIA) raids on PFI premises, as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters continued to engage in mob violence against rival political parties in Tripura state. In Bangladesh, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) members clashed with government supporters and police in Dhaka division, while Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) militants and unidentified armed groups targeted Rohingya refugees in Chittagong division.
Last week in Afghanistan, a car bomb explosion near the Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque in Kabul city killed at least seven and injured over 40 people, as Muslim worshippers were leaving Friday prayers. The perpetrators remain unknown. ACLED records over a dozen mosque attacks so far in 2022, the majority of which have been conducted by unidentified groups and the Islamic State (IS). The Wazir Akbar Khan mosque was also attacked in 2020, with IS claiming responsibility (VOA, 12 June 2020).
Taliban forces also attacked civilians across the country last week. Across separate attacks, Taliban forces reportedly beat civilians for listening to music, men with beards deemed too short, and men and women on charges of adultery. Taliban forces also continued to attack former security personnel, killing two during house searches in Samangan and Kandahar provinces. Elsewhere, in Panjshir province, the Taliban forcibly displaced, detained, and reportedly tortured civilians accused of possessing weapons (Hasht-e Subh, 21 September 2022).
Meanwhile, fewer clashes involving the Taliban and the National Resistance Front were reported last week than the week prior, when the Taliban launched operations in Panjshir province. Clashes were, however, still reported in Badghis, Samangan, and Takhar provinces. The Afghanistan Liberation Movement and Watandost Front also clashed with the Taliban in Kandahar and Ghazni, respectively, resulting in at least two Taliban fatalities.
In Pakistan, unidentified armed groups and Islamist militants conducted attacks against state forces and civilian targets in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa last week, resulting in multiple reported fatalities. In Khyber district, militants shot and killed a tribal leader, and injured another. The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed the attack, accusing the victims of working for a state intelligence agency (Dawn, 21 September 2022). 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, Baloch separatists engaged in armed clashes and deployed grenades and remote explosives against state forces last week. Multiple fatalities were reported across separate attacks involving Baloch separatist groups, including the Baloch Liberation Front and the Baloch Liberation Army, in a number of districts.
In India, PFI members held demonstrations across Kerala state last week against NIA raids on PFI offices, leaders’ residences, and other premises. On 22 September, the NIA arrested 106 PFI members during a nationwide crackdown, on charges of supporting ‘terror’ activities (Indian Express, 23 September 2022). India’s Union Ministry of Home Affairs banned PFI — a Muslim political movement — and its affiliate organizations for five years on 28 September for its alleged links to ‘terror’ funding (India Today, 28 September 2022). Amid the demonstrations, outbreaks of violence were reported in a number of districts, with PFI activists pelting stones at buses and clashing with police. These trends contribute to the 1,157% increase in violent events in Kerala over the past week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker.
Elsewhere, in Tripura state, BJP supporters continued to engage in attacks targeting Communist Party of India (Marxist) supporters across several districts last week. The violence has been connected to attempts to establish political supremacy in the area. These trends contribute to the 198% 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, BNP members continued demonstrations against growing inflation and previous assaults on BNP members, leading to clashes with government supporters and police in Dhaka division last week. Government supporters attacked BNP members and its youth and student wings, Jatiyatabadi Jubo Dal and Bangladesh Jatiotabadi Chatra Dal, across several districts in Dhaka and Chittagong divisions, respectively. This violence contributed to the 35% increase in violent events in Bangladesh last week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month. ACLED’s Conflict Change Map also warned of increased violence in the country during the preceding four weeks.
Meanwhile, ARSA militants and unidentified armed groups targeted Rohingya refugees living in shelter camps in Cox’s Bazar district, Chittagong division, resulting in multiple reported fatalities. Refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar have witnessed numerous violent incidents this year, including a recent attack by ARSA militants presumably over dominance of the camps. These trends contribute to the 124% increase in violent events in Chittagong over the past week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker.
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.