Last week in South Asia and Afghanistan, students of a religious school were killed in an attack in Aybak city, Afghanistan as the former prime minister and militia leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was attacked in Kabul city. Islamic State (IS) militants also conducted an attack targeting a Pakistani diplomatic convoy. In Pakistan, the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) unilaterally ended a months-long ceasefire agreement with the Pakistani government, while security forces continued engaging in deadly clashes with separatists in Balochistan province. In India, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members carried out multiple attacks against members of rival political parties in Tripura state, while Naxal-Maoist rebels clashed with security forces in the Red Corridor. In Bangladesh, clashes over political rivalry and supremacy continued between — and within — political parties, while unidentified assailants reportedly killed a Rohingya community leader at a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. In Nepal, election-related violence continued following the conclusion of the general elections on 20 November.
In Afghanistan, the deadliest incident of the last week took place in Aybak city in Samangan province as armed men killed at least 20 people in a religious school. The National Liberation Front of Afghanistan allegedly claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that the school was used by the Taliban forces as a military base and the targets were from the Taliban (Facebook @aazadagan, 30 November 2022). However, many sources, including the United Nations, claimed that the killed were civilians, including children (UN, 1 December 2022). Two other attacks took place in Kabul city targeting high profile politicians. On 2 December, at least two suicide bombers attempted to assassinate the former prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar during the Friday prayers, but they were killed by his security guards as he escaped unharmed (VOA, 2 December 2022). On the same day, IS militants attacked the convoy of the Pakistan embassy, injuring a guard of the chargé d’affaires. This is the second time IS targets diplomatic missions this year, as an attack in September killed two Russian embassy workers.
In Pakistan, the TTP broke a ceasefire agreement with the Pakistani government in effect from 2 June 2022, resuming attacks on security forces and civilians in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. A TTP suicide bomber detonated himself near a police vehicle deployed to protect polio workers in Quetta city, reportedly killing five persons, including two police officers, and injuring several others. The militant group conducts frequent attacks on polio teams, opposing polio campaigns as a “Western conspiracy to sterilize children” (The Diplomat, 30 November 2022). TTP militants also engaged in several clashes with security forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province last week, resulting in multiple reported fatalities. In South Waziristan district, TTP militants fired at a girls’ school, killing a passer-by and prompting security forces to retaliate. Elsewhere in Pakistan, security forces intensified operations against separatists in Balochistan last week. 19 ethnic Baloch separatists, including 10 members of the Baloch Liberation Army, were reportedly killed in separate clashes with security forces in Kech and Kohlu districts. ACLED’s Conflict Change Map previously warned of increased violence in Pakistan during the past month.
In India, BJP members carried out several targeted attacks against members of the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) in Tripura state last week, amid ongoing clashes between members of rival political parties. In Sepahijala district, a CPI(M) member was reportedly killed in a clash with BJP members who threw stones and crude bombs at a CPI(M) meeting. The increase in political attacks and clashes comes ahead of the state legislature elections, scheduled for March 2023. ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker warned of increased violence in Tripura during the preceding four weeks. Meanwhile, security forces continued to clash with Naxal-Maoist rebels in the Red Corridor, resulting in the reported deaths of six Naxal-Maoist rebels and one security personnel. In a notably deadly clash in Chhattisgarh state, four rebels were killed in an exchange of fire with security forces. The latest clashes come amid an uptick in reported Naxal-Maoist fatalities during security operations.
In Bangladesh, fighting between the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), as well as between rival factions of both parties, continued last week. A member of the Awami League’s youth wing, the Jubo League, was reportedly killed in a clash over supremacy between Awami League factions in Khulna division. Meanwhile, in Chittagong division, suspected members of the United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF) shot and killed a member of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) in a targeted attack last week. The killing comes ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord, which ended the decades-long insurgency between Shanti Bahini, the armed wing of the PCJSS and the government. The UPDF was formed as a splinter group in opposition to the peace treaty (Al Jazeera, 14 June 2022). Elsewhere in Chittagong division, a number of unidentified assailants reportedly killed a Rohingya community leader at a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, amid an uptick in violence targeting Rohingya refugees. Many refugees have been targeted by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, an armed Rohingya group, prompting Bangladeshi police to launch a crackdown in the camps (The Diplomat, 15 November 2022).
In Nepal, election-related clashes continued in several provinces of the country following the conclusion of the general elections on 20 November. Multiple injuries were reported across separate incidents of mob violence involving supporters of rival political parties last week. This violence contributed to the 91% increase in average weekly violent events in Nepal 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. Rivalries within and between political party factions vying for influence often lead to violence in Nepal (for more, see this recent ACLED report).
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.