BAJAUR AGENCY -  Terror incidents have witnessed 16 percent increase in the tribal areas during 2017 as compared to 2016, said the annual report of FATA Research Centre issued here on Sunday.

According to the report, a total of 324 violent incidents including 153 terrorism and 171 counter-terrorism actions were recorded during 2017, which marked a 16 percent increase in the terrorist incidents as compared to 2016.

The report added that out of the total 153 terrorist incidents in 2017, 73 terrorist attacks (48 percent) targeted the security forces while 71 attacks (46 percent) were directed against civilians. Seven terrorist attacks (five percent) targeted members of the civil militia or Amn Lashkar.

Two incident of infighting between terrorist groups also reported during the year 2017.

It noted that the violent incidents both terrorist and counter-terrorism, resulted in a total of 1207 casualties – 539 killed and 668 injured – across FATA, marking an increase of 37 percent in overall casualties of the total casualties, 76O (138 killed and 437 injured) were that of civilians, accounting for 63 percent of the overall casualties. 128 casualties (63 killed and 65 injured) were inflicted upon security forces which makes 11 percent of the overall casualties. Similarly, 29 casualties (11 killed and 18 injured) of the civil militia were also reported during the year 2017.

The report mentioned that the civilian casualties were particularly high in the Kurram Agency, where a total 575 civilian casualties-138 death and 437 injuries were recorded in the region during 2017, which accounted for three-quarters of the overall civilian casualties.

The report said that Bajaur Agency remained second in terms of civilian casualties in which 18 terrorist attacks resulted in 68 civilian casualties (16 killings and 52 injuries), making up nine percent of the overall all civilian casualties.

Similarly, 39 casualties (seven killings and 32 injuries) were reported from Mohmand Agency, while South Waziristan, North Waziristan and Khyber Agencies with around 3 percent each follow the list.

The report stated that Orakzai Agency remained the most peaceful region of the tribal belt with least number of civilian casualties where only 18 civilian casualties (five killings and 13 injuries) were recorded during the year which accounts for two percent of the overall civilian casualties.

The report claimed that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Islamic State of Khorasan (IS-K), Khan Said and Hakeemullah group of Mehsud Taliban, Wazir Taliban, Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-JhangviAlmi and TTP-Jamat-ul-Ahrar remained the major actor of instability during the year 2017.

The report said that these terrorist groups currently based in Afghanistan by forming new alliances and re-invigorating the old ones were managed to carry out terrorist attacks against security forces, civilians and member of Amn Lashkar from January to December 2017.

According to Irfan Udin, Senior Security Analyst at FATA Research Centre Islamabad, the recent surge in terrorist attacks in FATA illustrates the growing threat of terrorist after re-establishing their networks inside Afghanistan.

“IS-K has already established new bases in Jawzjan, Faryab, Balkh, Kunduz, Takhar, Badakhshan, Nuristan, Kunar, Nangarhar, Paktia, Khost and Paktika provinces of Afghanistan. To further entrench its network, IS-K is offering 1,000 US dollars for fresh recruits and disgruntled Taliban fighters, particularly in areas close to the North Waziristan, Kurram and Khyber Agencies of FATA which has created new threats for FATA region,” says Irfan, adding that the new alliance of IS-K with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Islam (LI), and Jamat-ul-Ahrar (TTP-JuA), currently stationed inside Afghanistan has further compounded these threats and may trigger a massive wave violence not only FATA but also in other parts of Pakistan.