Last week in South Asia and Afghanistan, anti-Taliban groups continued to target Taliban forces in Afghanistan, while women protested the Taliban government’s actions limiting women’s right to education. In Pakistan, an assassination attempt on former Prime Minister Imran Khan led to demonstrations across the country, while Baloch separatists and state forces engaged in clashes in Balochistan. In India, unidentified assailants carried out multiple attacks against members of the Indian National Congress (INC) in Tripura. In Bangladesh, members of the Awami League clashed with independent politicians and members of other political parties.
In Afghanistan, the National Resistance Front clashed with Taliban forces in Panjshir, Takhar, and Sar-e Pol provinces last week. Meanwhile, the Afghanistan Freedom Front carried out two attacks against the Taliban in Zabul province, reportedly killing two Taliban intelligence officers.
Meanwhile, ongoing Taliban restrictions targeting the education of women and girls triggered several demonstrations last week. In Kabul city, women gathered to protest the Taliban’s school ban for girls above sixth grade, which has been in place for over 400 days (TOLO News, 29 October 2022). In Badakhshan province, the Taliban reportedly attacked a group of female students entering a university in Faiz Abad city because they were not fully covering their faces. Following the incident, women held a protest to condemn the Taliban. The Taliban dispersed the demonstrations and arrested some demonstrating students. ACLED records an uptick in demonstrations featuring women since an unidentified militant killed dozens of Hazara school girls during a suicide bombing in Kabul on 30 September.
In Pakistan, a gunman shot former Prime Minister Khan in the leg in an assassination attempt during a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) rally in Wazirabad on 3 November. One PTI member at the rally was reportedly killed in the shooting. The attack triggered PTI-led demonstrations throughout the country. Khan accused the government and military of being behind the assassination attempt, which they denied (CNN, 7 November 2022). The attack came amid the PTI’s ongoing ‘long march’ to Islamabad aimed at pressuring the government into calling snap elections (South China Morning Post, 8 November 2022).
Elsewhere, in Balochistan, state forces and Baloch separatists clashed several times last week. Eight soldiers were reportedly killed in one notably deadly clash in Kachhi district, while two soldiers and four separatists were reportedly killed during a clash in Harnai district. This violence contributed to the 47% 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.
In India, members of the INC were attacked in several incidents in Tripura state last week. In Khowai, unidentified assailants attacked an INC member, while bombs were thrown at the houses of INC members, injuring one leader. In Agartala, members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) assaulted and injured INC members, while suspected BJP members vandalized the INC office. In Bishalgarh town, BJP and INC members clashed. These trends contribute to the 113% increase in violent events in Tripura over the past week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker. The violence comes ahead of the legislative assembly elections in Tripura scheduled for March 2023.
In Bangladesh, the Awami League and its youth wing, the Jubo League, attacked members of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and clashed with independent politicians and members and supporters of other political parties last week. During a clash in Dhaka division, Awami League supporters shot at supporters of an independent politician, reportedly killing three people and injuring several others. This violence contributed to the 32% 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. There are concerns that opposition parties will face greater repression in the lead-up to the elections scheduled for the end of next year (Human Rights Watch, 10 October 2022).
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.