Civilians: The Common Victim of Anti-State Violence


QUARTERLY REPORT-Final Click to download full report

A study conducted by the Conflict Monitoring Center –an Islamabad based independent research center- shows that militant activities against Pakistani security forces have become least effective. Majority of the victims of militant activities are now civilians. The study also shows that Pakistani security forces are most careful regarding civilian casualties in their counter-insurgency operations while the Indian security forces are least careful in this regard. Conflict Monitoring Center collected, processed, and analyzed statistics of anti-state and anti-government violence in three major states of South Asia i.e. Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. According to the report, everyday 13 incidents of anti-state violence are reported in these three countries. Almost half of these violent incidents occur in Afghanistan while India sees more anti-stat violent incidents per day than Pakistan. The study is based on data of last quarter of the year 2010 (October-December 2010). The data is collected from mainstream national and international media. It shows that during the study period at least 1139 incidents of anti-state violence were reported in these three countries killing at least 3648 and injuring 2429 peoples. Out of these 1139 incidents, 522 were reported in Afghanistan, 335 in India and 282 in Pakistan. More than one thousand (1025) of those killed were civilians which constitutes 28 percent of total deaths. Most of the civilians (396) were killed in Afghanistan while 388 civilians were killed in Pakistan and 241 were killed in India.

In Pakistan 378 out of 288 civilians were killed by militants. Only four civilian deaths were reported in Pakistani security forces actions against militants. The statistics show that the ability of militants to target Pakistani security forces has fallen considerably. During the study period, the militants carried out 183 attacks and killed 573 people. They could kill only 77 security personals during these attacks while they lost 118 militants in retaliation by security forces. 378 of the 573 people killed in militant attacks were civilians. Previously suicide attacks were an effective weapon of militants against security forces but now the suicide attacks too are taking mostly civilian lives. The data shows that 96 percent of those killed in suicide attacks in Pakistan were civilians.

Suicide attacks were more lethal in Pakistan than in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan 23 suicide, attacks were reported during the last three months of 2010 killing 43. During the same period, militants carried out 12 suicide attacks in Pakistan killing as many as 265 people. It shows that in Afghanistan every suicide attack killed only two persons while in Pakistan every suicide attack killed 22 persons.

In India, more than 52 percent of reported deaths were civilians. This is the highest ratio of civilian fatalities in anti-state armed conflicts in the region. The ratio of civilian casualties in security forces operations is also highest in India. There were 249 people killed and more than two hundred others injured in 179 different militant activities in India during the last quarter of the year 2010. Two third (66.27 %) of the victims of these activities were civilians (165). The killings of security forces personnel (57) constitute about one fourth (22.89 %) of the total casualties in militancy. Approximately two third (63.13 %) of the militant activities (113) and (63.05 %) of consequent casualties were reported in the Eastern Region of the country. Slightly more than two third (70.06 %) of the victims of such activities in the region were civilians (110).

In about 156 different security forces actions, at least 213 persons were killed and more than three hundred others wounded in India during the reported period. Almost one half (52.58 %) of the victims of these actions were the militants (112). More than one third (35.68 %) of the victims of security forces actions in India are the civilians. As such, the ratio of killings of innocent people in the hands of forces is highest in India in the region.  Approximately three fourth (72.44%) of the security forces actions (113) and about three fifth (59.15 %) of the deaths (126) in such actions have been reported in Kashmir. Hundreds of those wounded in security forces actions have also been reported in the area. The deaths of civilians constitute more than one half (53.97 %) of the total casualties in security forces actions in Indian held Kashmir. Indian forces time and again used brute force against the peaceful demonstrators killing several of them and inflicting injuries to hundreds others. They also killed three persons under their custody.

The myth that more people are killed in Pakistan than in Afghanistan in militancy proved untrue during the study. The study proves Afghanistan is the worst victim of anti-state violence in the region. 522 out of 1139 reported incidents of violence took place in Afghanistan. 55 percent of the combined deaths in three countries were reported in Afghanistan. Everyday about 22 (21.74) persons are killed and tens of others left wounded in war-torn Afghanistan. Everyday about six (5.67) incidents of armed conflicts are reported and each incident takes lives of four (3.83) persons in the country. There were at least 2000 people killed and more than eight hundred others left wounded in Afghanistan during the last quarter of the year 2010.

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