Last week in South Asia and Afghanistan, deadly clashes between Taliban and Pakistani security forces broke out along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. In Pakistan, clashes between militants and security forces continued in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In India, militants and Naxal-Maoist rebels carried out targeted attacks against civilians in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and the Red Corridor, respectively. In Bangladesh, security forces exchanged fire with militants during an anti-smuggling operation along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, while clashes between rival factions of the Awami League continued. In Nepal, election-related violence erupted in several provinces ahead of the general elections on 20 November.
Clashes broke out between Pakistani security forces and the Taliban in Kandahar and Paktia provinces in Afghanistan last week following a deadly cross-border incursion into Pakistan by an Afghan-based militant. On 13 November, an unknown Afghan gunman crossed the Durand Line and attacked Pakistani border forces, killing one and wounding others, before crossing the border back to Afghanistan. The attack triggered a clash between Taliban and Pakistani forces in Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province, in which eight Pakistani soldiers and three Taliban members were reportedly killed. Pakistani forces demanded the Taliban hand the militant over, but the request was rejected (Pajhwok Afghan News, 14 November 2022). Two days later, one Afghan civilian was killed when clashes erupted between Pakistani forces and the Taliban along the Durand Line in Dand Patan district of Paktia province. Another Afghan civilian was also shot and killed by Pakistani security forces in unclear circumstances in Barmal district of Paktika on the same day. The outbreak of violence along the border led to the week-long closure of the Chaman border crossing, a principal hub for trade and movement between the two countries (Dawn, 21 November 2022).
Meanwhile, unidentified assailants killed two Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commanders during separate incidents in Afghanistan last week. One commander was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in Paktia province, while the body of the second commander was found in Bati Kot district of Nangarhar province. More than a dozen attacks targeting TTP militants have been reported in Afghanistan in 2022, the majority of which have remained unclaimed. Tensions between Pakistan and the Taliban have escalated since the group assumed power in Afghanistan in August 2021, with Pakistan accusing the Taliban of harboring militant groups, including the TTP (RFE/RL, 30 September 2022; Deutsche Welle, 8 April 2022). Pakistan has been dealing with a spike in militant attacks within its border since last year, which Pakistani officials have linked to the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan (VOA, 20 October 2022).
TTP militants also engaged in clashes with security forces and targeted civilians in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan, resulting in multiple reported fatalities. In a notably deadly clash, TTP militants fired at a police patrol vehicle in Lakki Marwat district, reportedly killing six police personnel. Clashes between the militant group and security forces have continued despite an ongoing ceasefire agreement between the TTP and the Pakistani government. In South Waziristan district, unidentified assailants conducted an IED explosion at a local market in Chagmalai town, reportedly targeting surrendered Taliban members. Two former Taliban members and an off-duty Pakistani soldier were reportedly killed in the explosion. The latest attack came on the heels of widespread protests across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province earlier last week over the deteriorating security situation in Waziristan.
In Balochistan, five Baloch separatists were reportedly killed during separate clashes with security forces last week in Kech and Kachhi districts. Earlier in the week, suspected Baloch separatists had reportedly killed four people traveling from the Pakistan-Iran border area in Kech district. The Islamic State was also active in Balochistan last week, reportedly killing a man that they accused of being a member of the Pakistani intelligence service. This violence contributed to the 39% 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, militants reportedly killed two non-local day laborers during separate attacks in J&K last week. These attacks are the latest in a spate of attacks targeting non-local laborers in recent months. Meanwhile, Naxal-Maoist rebels continued targeting civilians in the Red Corridor. In Chhattisgarh state, rebels reportedly abducted and killed the brother of a former local government body member.
In Bangladesh, security forces exchanged fire with suspected Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) militants near the Konapara refugee camp in Chittagong division during an anti-smuggling operation last week in the forested areas along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. A Rohingya woman and a Bangladeshi air force officer were reportedly killed during the encounter. The latest clash comes amid an uptick in violence targeting Rohingya refugees, with ARSA suspected to be behind many of the attacks.
Meanwhile, clashes between the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), as well as between rival factions of both parties, continued last week. Three persons were reportedly killed and scores injured during separate clashes over supremacy between Awami League factions in Dhaka, Sylhet, and Khulna divisions. In Sylhet division, members of the Awami League’s student wing, the Bangladesh Chhatra League, attacked the vehicle of a BNP leader, prompting clashes between members of both parties. These trends contribute to the 167% increase in violent events in Sylhet 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 Sylhet during the preceding four weeks.
In Nepal, several clashes erupted between members of rival political parties in the run-up to the general elections, which were held on 20 November.1The Nepal general elections will be covered in greater detail in next week’s Regional Overview. Multiple injuries were reported across separate incidents of mob violence involving the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Socialist), Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)-Netra Bikram Chand, Democratic Socialist Party and National People’s Front, National Democratic Party and People’s Socialist Party Nepal supporters. This violence contributed to the 172% increase in violent events in Nepal 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. Rivalries within and between political party factions vying for influence can often lead to violence in Nepal (for more, see this recent ACLED report).
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