Last week in South Asia and Afghanistan, the Taliban brought in further restrictions on women’s movement in Afghanistan, amid their ongoing targeting of civilians. In Pakistan, militants engaged in clashes with security forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, while demonstrations against the assassination attempt on former Prime Minister Imran Khan on 3 November continued across the country. In India, security forces carried out operations against Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), while Naxal-Maoist rebels clashed with security forces in the Red Corridor. In Bangladesh, unidentified assailants reportedly killed two members of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in Sylhet and Khulna divisions, amid ongoing clashes between Awami League and BNP members.
In Afghanistan, Taliban forces continued to target civilians with links to the former government last week. Across the country, Taliban forces arrested former military members, shooting a former soldier in the leg during an arrest in Parwan. In Samangan province, the Taliban arrested five former government and security forces members, the whereabouts of whom remain unknown (Hasht-e Subh, 8 November 2022).
Taliban forces also continued to target women and girls last week. In Takhar, Taliban forces reportedly lashed 16 girls and boys due to the girls allegedly not following the required dress code and the boys accompanying them. In Sholgara district in Balkh Province, the district head of Taliban’s Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice killed a girl over her apparent refusal to marry him. Meanwhile, the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice barred women from entering parks and public baths in Kabul city last week, as well as banning them from using gyms across the country (RFE/RL, 10 November 2022; Associated Press, 10 November 2022). Additionally, a woman activist was detained in Kabul due to her participation in a press conference announcing a new women’s movement the week prior. The press conference had been dispersed by the Taliban, who detained some women and journalists, which also raised concerns from the UN (Reuters, 4 November 2022).
Last week in Pakistan, militants clashed with security forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, while unidentified assailants set fire to a girls’ school in Gilgit-Baltistan. Demonstrations by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) members against the assassination attempt on former Prime Minister Khan continued across the country, amid reports of clashes between the demonstrators and police in Punjab. This violence contributed to the 55% 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.
The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Islamic State engaged in separate clashes with security forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, resulting in multiple reported fatalities. In South Waziristan district, TTP militants fired rockets and grenades at a police station, reportedly killing two police personnel and injuring two others. Increases in TTP attacks and military operations against TTP militants in the past week come despite an ongoing ceasefire agreement between the militant group and the Pakistani government (South China Morning Post, 25 October 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, state forces and Baloch separatists continued to clash last week. Several soldiers and pro-government militia members were reportedly killed during clashes and explosive attacks by Baloch separatists in Panjgur and Kech districts.
Elsewhere, in Gilgit-Baltistan, unidentified assailants set a girls’ school on fire in Diamar district and abducted the security guard, prompting a demonstration by students and locals denouncing the burning of the school. This is the first such attack recorded in Gilgit-Baltistan since August 2018, when unidentified assailants set more than a dozen schools alight in Diamar district. While violence in Gilgit-Baltistan has not been common, it has become increasingly volatile, resulting in a shift from a place of ‘low risk’ to being considered an area of ‘growing risk’ by ACLED’s Volatility and Risk Predictability Index.
Meanwhile, PTI members continued to hold demonstrations last week against the assassination attempt on former Prime Minister Khan and resumed their ‘long march’ to Islamabad, demanding snap elections. The march had been suspended following the assassination attempt. In Punjab, PTI members clashed with police and attacked journalists covering the demonstrations. These trends contribute to the 187% increase in average weekly violent events in Punjab 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 Punjab during the preceding four weeks.
In India, security forces clashed with JeM militants in J&K last week, resulting in the reported death of one JeM militant. In the Red Corridor, two Naxal-Maoist rebels were reportedly killed in a clash with security forces in Odisha. Meanwhile, over 600 Naxal-Maoist supporters reportedly surrendered to police in the Swabhiman Anchal area of Odisha. While Swabhiman Anchal is considered a stronghold of Naxal-Maoist rebels, other Naxal-Maoist sympathizers and militia members have surrendered to police throughout the year (The Hindu, 23 August 2022).
In Bangladesh, unidentified assailants reportedly killed a BNP member and a member of BNP’s student wing, the Bangladesh Jatiotabadi Chatra Dal, in separate incidents in Sylhet and Khulna divisions last week. The killings came amid ongoing clashes over political supremacy and factionalism between the Awami League and BNP, as well as between rival factions of the Awami League. In Barisal division, several BNP members sustained injuries when rioters attacked the motorcade of a BNP leader. A number of BNP members subsequently vandalized the local Awami League office and assaulted party members at the premises. These trends contribute to the 286% increase in average weekly violent events in Barisal 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 Barisal during the preceding four weeks. The UN has expressed concern over recent outbreaks of political violence in Bangladesh ahead of the next elections (The Business Standard, 8 November 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.