Last week in South Asia and Afghanistan, the Islamic State (IS) and the Taliban continued targeting each other in Afghanistan, with civilians reportedly killed by both groups. Anti-Taliban groups, particularly the National Resistance Front (NRF), also continued to clash with Taliban forces. In Pakistan, clashes between state forces and Baloch separatists were reported in Balochistan, while anti-India protests were held in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) to mark the anniversary of the accession of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) to India. In India’s Red Corridor, Naxal-Maoist rebels clashed with state forces and carried out multiple attacks against civilians. In Bangladesh, unidentified assailants attacked Rohingya refugees in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, while violence increased in Barisal division, coinciding with the anniversary of Jubo Dal’s founding.
In Afghanistan, IS carried out several attacks last week, resulting in multiple civilian fatalities. On 23 October, three civilians were wounded when their bus hit an IS-planted bomb in Kabul city (Radio Killid, 23 October 2022). IS claimed that the attack targeted a Taliban vehicle, killing and wounding those inside it, while Taliban forces had initially claimed that a gas cylinder caused the explosion (Twitter @Natsecjeff, 23 October 2022). In Herat city, five medical personnel of the Ministry of Defense were reportedly killed by IS in an armed attack on their bus.
In Panjshir province, Taliban forces continued to target civilians last week. The Taliban reportedly tortured two detained civilians with alleged links to the NRF to death, while the Taliban displaced residents of a village in Bazarak district to turn their houses into a Taliban base. UN Special Rapporteur Richard Bennett expressed concern over the persecution of civilians in Panjshir, with the Taliban describing the UN statements as “biased, one-sided and unprofessional” (Pajhwok Afghan News, 28 October 2022). ACLED records over 60 events in Panjshir thus far in 2022 where civilians have been arrested or attacked by the Taliban, either on suspicion of links to the NRF or without a reason reported. 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.
Meanwhile, anti-Taliban groups continued to clash with the Taliban last week. The NRF clashed with Taliban forces in Takhar and Baghlan provinces, while the National Liberation Front attacked the Taliban in Kabul city. Elsewhere, the Afghanistan Freedom Front planted a bomb that hit a Taliban vehicle in Kandahar. Over a dozen Taliban members were reportedly killed as a result of these events.
In Pakistan, state forces and Baloch separatists clashed in Balochistan last week. In Quetta, six soldiers were reportedly killed when the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) fired on a military convoy. Four more soldiers were reportedly killed when the BLA fired rockets and grenades at a military convoy in the Kolwa area of Kech district. The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan was also active in Balochistan last week, attacking a police officer guarding a polio vaccination team. This violence contributed to the 40% increase in average weekly violent events in Pakistan in the past month relative to the weekly average for the preceding year. ACLED’s Conflict Change Map also warned of increased violence in the country during the preceding four weeks.
Meanwhile, protesters in Pakistan’s AJK marked the anniversary of the 1947 accession of the Former Princely State of J&K to India, opposing India’s continued control of J&K. Protests were also held opposing the Pakistan army for their role in the 1947 tribal incursion into J&K, which preceded the partitioning of J&K (Daily Excelsior, 23 October 2022). Further, a number of demonstrations were held across Pakistan against India’s repeal in 2019 of Article 370 of the constitution, which had granted J&K special status.
In India, Naxal-Maoist rebels clashed with state forces and engaged in civilian targeting in the Red Corridor last week. In Chhattisgarh and Odisha, Naxal-Maoist rebels clashed with state forces, and reportedly killed three civilians across separate attacks, including two people that they accused of being police informers. These trends contribute to the 243% increase in violent events in Odisha over the past week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker.
In Bangladesh, unidentified assailants reportedly killed four Rohingya refugees last week in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar in Chittagong division. The killings come amid an uptick in violence targeting Rohingya refugees. Many have been targeted by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, an armed Rohingya group.
Elsewhere, the anniversary of the 27 October 1978 founding of the Jubo Dal youth wing of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party coincided with an increase in violence in Barisal division. Members of the Chhatra League and Jubo League assaulted members of Jubo Dal in Bhola town on 27 October, resulting in injuries to at least 50 Jubo Dal members. On the same day, in Jhalokati city, members of Jubo Dal clashed with police forces who intervened to stop a Jubo Dal procession commemorating the party’s founding. Additionally, the Kalapara offices of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party were vandalized by members of the Awami League. These trends contribute to the 220% increase in violent events in Barisal division last week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker. The Subnational Tracker also warned of increased violence in Barisal during the preceding four weeks.
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.