Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pakistan suffers record number of deaths due to militant violence: Declan Walsh

Pakistan suffers record number of deaths due to militant violence
3,021 people killed in terrorist attacks in 2009 – a 48% rise, according to Islamabad thinktank

Declan Walsh in Islamabad guardian.co.uk, Monday 11 January 2010
A record number of Pakistani civilians and security forces died in militant violence last year as the country reeled from an onslaught of Taliban suicide bombings that propelled it into the ranks of the world's most perilous places.

Pakistan saw 3,021 deaths in terrorist attacks in in 2009, up 48% on the year before, according to a new report by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based defence thinktank. Researchers counted a total of 12,600 violent deaths across the country in 2009, 14 times more than in 2006.

At least half of the dead were militants who were killed in US drone strikes or, mostly, sweeping army offensives against their mountain strongholds of Swat and South Waziristan along the Afghan border. Another 2,000 or so Pakistanis died in bloodshed unrelated to militancy: political clashes, tribal feuds and border skirmishes.

In comparison just over 2,000 civilians were killed in war-torn Afghanistan during the first ten months of 2009, according to the UN. In Iraq 4,500 civilians were killed during the year, said Iraq Body Count, an independent monitoring organisation.

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