Region of Concern: Pakistan
Written By Claire Bracco; Edited by Amy McGee and Laila Bayoumi
Date: December 14, 2022
Event: On December 14, a roadside bomb killed two civilians, wounded 14, and caused material damage to shops in the town of Miran Shah in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Local police officials reported that the bombing targeted a passing convoy of security forces. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the area is a former stronghold of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). In the last weeks, TTP has escalated its number and intensity of attacks after announcing the end of the ceasefire with the Pakistani government last month.
Significance: As the Afghan borders get more porous due to the smuggling of goods, as well as the drug trade, it is very likely that the TTP will continue targeting Pakistani civilians and security forces. After TTP’s open declaration of war at the end of November, it is very likely that all major urban centers and critical infrastructures will be possible targets. The Pakistani government will likely be unable to provide security to all sites at risk, furthering the likelihood of direct attacks with a high number of casualties. The attacks are likely to draw investments away from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, especially from China. Reduced investment and revenue will very likely further increase poverty in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and weaken the Pakistani government’s capabilities to fight terrorist and separatist groups.
Recommendations: Pakistani authorities need to increase security measures in the region by strengthening their military bases. There should be high alert in areas near the Afghan border to avoid further weapons smuggling and support from the Taliban to the TTP. The government should invest in social welfare, deradicalization programs, and education, to tackle the rise of terrorism in the country as well as to reassure foreign investors that the country is still stable. The Pakistani government should swiftly identify the perpetrators and punish them according to national laws. The government should also monitor and prepare for further attacks by using intelligence services. The public should be informed of the current risks and they should be recommended to exercise caution when traveling through the area as the attackers have yet to be identified. The government should look at other sources of foreign investment, such as the US, to avoid an economic stalemate.
 Pakistan: Bombing kills 1, injures 14 in restive border area, AP, December 2022 https://apnews.com/article/pakistan-taliban-0d79db4693a2c58441315c496b593079