Bannu Division: Terrorist Ferment
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management
In a daring incident on December 18, 2022, a detained terrorist overpowered a constable at the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Complex in Bannu Cantonment (Bannu District) and, after snatching the constable's weapon, freed 34 other detained terrorists.
Major General Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry, Director-General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), stated, “As soon as they came out of lockup, the terrorists got more weapons from the mall and started firing.” One CTD constable was killed and another was injured. The injured constable died later. Meanwhile, Security Forces (SFs) cordoned off the area and launched an operation. “Immediately after the seizure of the complex on December 18, two terrorists were killed, three were arrested, and two security forces personnel were injured in the exchange of fire,” the DG added. “Efforts to induce the terrorists to surrender unconditionally continued for the next two days,” he disclosed, adding that the terrorists demanded a safe passage to Afghanistan. On December 20, the SFs took action against the terrorists for not surrendering. “During the operation – fierce exchange of fire between terrorists and security forces – 25 terrorists were killed. Three terrorists were arrested while seven surrendered. Three sons of the soil were martyred fighting bravely in the operation,” the DG added. 10 soldiers, including two officers, were injured in the operation.
Meanwhile, a Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson on December 18, 2022, claimed responsibility for the hostage incident. He ‘clarified’ that though the militants in the previous video statement while demanding safe passage “mistakenly mentioned Afghanistan”, the group in fact had spoken to government officials overnight and asked them to “shift the prisoners” to either South or North Waziristan.
On December 19, two civilians and one soldier were killed while one civilian was injured in a suicide attack in Miranshah area of North Waziristan District.
On December 18, four Policemen were killed and four were wounded, as terrorists attacked the Bargai Police Station in Lakki Marwat District. The terrorists used rockets and grenades to break into the Police Station. Militants managed to flee after killing the enforcement personnel.
On December 14, one soldier and a civilian were killed while 14 others, including nine security personnel, were injured, when a suicide attacker on a motorcycle targeted a Security Forces’ (SFs) convoy on Data Khel Road at Miranshah in North Waziristan District.
On December 7, 2022, a Policeman was killed when terrorists attacked a Police post with heavy weapons in the Kangar Pul area of Bannu District.
In a brutal incident, on December 5, 2022, a Frontier Constabulary (FC) soldier and his son were killed by unidentified assailants in the Jani Khel town of Bannu District. Around 20 armed men entered the house of the FC soldier and shot the two dead. They then beheaded the FC soldier and hung his head from a tree in the Bachki Market area. The head was spotted by tribesmen in the morning, who then informed the Police.
The Bannu Division in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) comprises three Districts: Bannu, Lakki Marwat and North Waziristan.
According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), the Bannu Division has recorded at least 343 terrorism-related fatalities (16 civilians, 76 SF personnel and 164 terrorists) in 2022, thus far (data till December 25, 2022). In 2021, there were 175 terrorism-related fatalities, including 17 civilians, 46 SF personnel and 57 terrorists.