Pakistani victims: War on terror toll put at 49,000

Published: March 27, 2013

More than 24,000 people – both civilians and troops – were killed in terrorist attacks during the period between 2001 and 2008.

ISLAMABAD: Top spy agencies told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that Pakistan has lost 49,000 lives since the apocalyptic attacks on World Trade Center and Pentagon in the United States on September 11, 2001. Interestingly, government agencies had put the fatality figure at 40,000 in earlier reports.

More than 24,000 people – both civilians and troops – were killed in terrorist attacks during the period between 2001 and 2008. The last five years have proved costlier, in human terms. Another 25,000-plus people died during military offensives against Taliban insurgents in the restive tribal regions since 2008, the attorney for the intelligence agencies told the court in a report.

The apex court was hearing a petition challenging the constitutional status of the Action in Aid of Civil Powers Regulations (AACPR) 2011 which relates to deployment of armed forces to help the civil administration restore law and order.

The petition was filed by former Jamaat-i-Islami senator Professor Ibrahim through his counsel Ghulam Nabi. The petitioner has accused the army of violating human rights in the provincially administered tribal areas (PATA).

According to the report, the armed forces have suffered 15,681 casualties while fighting Taliban militants in the tribal areas since 2008 – with 2009 being the deadliest year for them.

The court was informed that the armed forces were called in aid of the civil administration as the law enforcers, including the police, were unable to tackle the challenge in most of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

As many as 5,152 civilians have been killed and 5,678 injured in bomb blasts and suicide attacks since 2008, says the report. Similarly, 3,051 insurgents were killed and 1,228 wounded in security operations during the same period.

According to the report, there have been 235 suicide hits, 9,257 rocket attacks and 4,256 bomb explosions in the last five years. More than 200 members of tribal peace committees, or Lashkars, including volunteers and chieftains, were also killed and 275 wounded in targeted attacks in the last three years.

The report also revealed that 1,030 schools and colleges were destroyed by Taliban insurgents in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa from 2009 to 2013.

The spy agencies also claimed that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the outlawed conglomerate of militant groups blamed for most violence in the country, has weakened due to infighting and fragmentation. Some of its splinter groups have morphed into sectarian extremist groups – which are mounting attacks on the Shia community in Quetta and Karachi.

Now, the TTP is not as effective as it was before 2008 when it challenged the writ of the state, the report said adding that people’s support for militants is waning.

According to the report, the Afghan government was colluding with the Swat chapter of TTP. And this collusion could lead to a surge in cross-border attacks by Taliban militants in the bordering districts of Chitral, Dir, Swat and tribal regions of Bajaur and Momand. This is the first time Pakistani security forces openly blamed the Afghan government for colluding with the TTP.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • gp65
    Mar 27, 2013 - 10:14AM

    First of all War on TError taht US refers to is against Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda. These numbers do not reflect casualties from fighting those. These numbers reflect the fight against TTP insurgency (no different from Sri Lanka fighting LTTE or India fighting Maoists). Neither India nor Sri Lanka call these as being part of Global War no Terror and neither should Pakistan.

    This distinction is important to make because War on Terror is seen as a foreign war. But this war against local insurgents where 15000+ of your armed forces have died is by no means a small war. This number of armed forces casualties is greater than the number of Pakistani soldiers that died in 1965, 1971, 1999 as well as the couple of times when attempt was made to reclaim Siachen all put together. How then can any PAkistani say this is not our war?

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  • Fedup Pakistani
    Mar 27, 2013 - 10:26AM

    49000 = One hundredth part of a PEANUT…..

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  • vasan
    Mar 27, 2013 - 10:52AM

    “According to the report, the Afghan government was colluding with the Swat chapter of TTP.”
    This is the payback time for Afganistan to return the favour by Pakistan in 80s,90s

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  • lalai
    Mar 27, 2013 - 11:10AM

    Brutal killing of 49,000 human souls including some of the top generals is an achievement by Taliban that even our perceived arch enemy India couldn’t match in our entire history of enmity since 1947. Still Taliban are a strategic assets and India is the enemy.It is true that our generals will never grow enough to learn from their mistakes.

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  • Zalim singh
    Mar 27, 2013 - 11:48AM

    Cheap publicity. For attracting more US aid.

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  • Najeebullah
    Mar 27, 2013 - 11:51AM

    Imran Khan still tries to justify them.

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  • Najeebullah
    Mar 27, 2013 - 11:56AM

    Lets hide our heads in the sand and say this is not our war.

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  • Sexton Blake
    Mar 27, 2013 - 12:27PM

    Obviously Pakistan has problems, but it is very complex when attempting to determine where all the problems come from. For example, the article starts with hysterical nomenclature such as “apocalyptic attack on World Trade Center and the Pentagon” when there is no evidence as to what happened. Certainly we know the Americans tell lies, and Iraq was a clear example of this. However, it would appear that Pakistan has endured much suffering, and perhaps the Pakistan Government has to take much of the blame by getting into bed with the Americans. Like everybody else I do not know what the answer is, but it does appear that the Americans, and the Taliban, do not intend to go away. I think the Pakistan people should prepare themselves for a continuing rough ride.

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  • Enlightened
    Mar 27, 2013 - 3:47PM

    I have some doubts regarding the casualties figures released which claims that approx 15000 security personnel were killed during the past five years which makes about 250 killed each month during this period. I feel these figures are highly exaggerated and the same can be cross checked through close scrutiny by some journalist and why not by ET as ISPR had been releasing these figures to press after every attack. Notwithstanding above, the claim that TTP has been weakened is a overstatement as it is still capable of mounting attacks on security forces and civilian targets at will and the former has so far failed to prevent them.

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  • lololol
    Mar 27, 2013 - 5:11PM

    Vast majority of civilian deaths at the hands of militants come after the Lal Masjid incident when militants greatly intensified bombings across Pakistan. From 2001-2007 (before militants started indiscriminate bombings) I would assume that at most 3000 civilians were killed by militants during this period and then another 5152 from 2008 onwards. This puts the total civilian death toll to 8152. Add in the targeted killings carried out by militants then the civilians death toll would be increased to 10,000 (and this is an exaggeration). Now add to this count the total number of soldiers (includes peace lashkars) killed in this war, which I put to the exaggerated number of 7,000….then the total number of people killed by militants since this war began stands at 17,000.

    Add in to this the number of militants killed from 2001-2012. I put the number at 6000 (an
    exaggeration again). This puts the total death toll of WoT (civilians, military, militants) to 23,000.

    Now the real question is, who killed the rest of 26,000 people? and Why is there no mention of drone attacks? Perhaps the state does not want us to know who killed these people (hence why they don’t allow access to many areas)? The quicker we realise that it’s not just the militants who have wrecked havoc in this country but also our state then the quicker we can resolve this issue.

    @Enlightened, the figure claims military suffered 15,000 casualties, this includes the amount of people killed AND injured (the bulk of casualty figure can be attributed to injuries).

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  • Sane
    Mar 27, 2013 - 6:23PM

    Where is the number of drone attack victims?

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  • Reallity Check
    Mar 27, 2013 - 6:44PM

    Not Pakistans war for sure. Pakistani leaders and some of the population sure are geniuses.

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  • Hindu
    Mar 27, 2013 - 6:59PM

    Taliban is a strategic asset of India.

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  • Mar 27, 2013 - 7:18PM

    Dear Sexton Blake,

    It’s been a common practice to shift all the blame towards the U.S. since the beginning of the WOT. In fact, we come across conspiracy theories on a daily basis that attempt to create differences between our nations through the blame game. But the facts simply allow us to separate the truth from fiction. Over time, it has become clearer who is working against our efforts to bring peace and stability to the region. How do you overlook the fact that the terrorist organizations like the TTP have been boastfully claiming responsibility for murdering innocent Pakistanis? Their dangerous objectives might have remain hidden at first, because certain conspiracies were leading people to believe that the West was waging a war on Islam, or the U.S. was behind the killings of innocents inside Pakistan. Now, not a day goes by when we don’t get to see that the terrorist organizations like the TTP kill without remorse, target innocent people at the places of worship, and even orchestrate attacks against our forces. Our failure to acknowledge the truth will not solve the problem. We are fighting the same terrorists and suffering at the hands of the same terrorists. We seem to forget that our failure to cooperate against our common enemies only plays in their favor. And it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that they certainly wish to see us remain tangled in our differences for the sake of gaining advantage. So, the choice is obvious, we must continue to work together and remain unified for the sake restoring peace in the region.

    Ali Khan

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  • cautious
    Mar 27, 2013 - 9:00PM

    Pakistan has clearly suffered from terrorism but I place little reliance on the casualty numbers tossed around by the govt and forums. Back when Pakistan was saying it had 35,000 victims of terrorism nobody ever asked where the number came from. I looked high and low and finally found an article on Dawn.com which broke out the casualty stats through 2011 – went like this. Security/military – 3,840, Civilians – 11,185, Terrorist 21,680. Based on those stats any other country would have claimed they had 15,025 casualties – claiming terrorist as Pakistani victims is clearly inappropriate.

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  • wallbangr
    Mar 27, 2013 - 9:10PM

    But how many of these unfortunate souls were lost due to militarism, sectarianism and even terrorism either overtly sponsored by the state or at least to which the government has been willfully blind? The idea of keeping these vicious dogs around as a proxy garrison against India has backfired and the dogs have turned on their master. Also, when you stoke the fires of an insurgency next door by giving refuge and comfort to extremist thugs, you ought not to be shocked when the same thugs turn their guns on you. That is what extremist thugs do.

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  • Enlightened
    Mar 27, 2013 - 9:14PM

    I had expressed my apprehension in my last post regarding number of casualties suffered by security forces since 2008 stated as 15681. However, on scrutinising on net, the previous figures released by military and published in The Dawn on 20 Oct 2011 with heading ‘Pakistan loses two Brigades in war on terror’ states ‘Maj Gen Ashfaq Nadeem briefing two houses of Parliament said that 3097 personnel were killed and 727 permanently disabled. The total number of Pakistanis killed had gone up to 40309′. The present casualty figure which I presume include both killed and injured has jumped from 3824 to 15681 ie increase of 11857 during one and a half year period which is mind-boggling. The figures released in 2011 appear to be correct but the latest ones given to Apex Court are highly inflated which need to be explained.

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  • caribbean critic
    Mar 27, 2013 - 10:29PM

    Dear Ali Khan of Centcom,
    From my perspective Sexton Blake has hit a raw nerve with the CentCom terrorist organisation! The fake war on terrorism being committed by the largest terrorist organisation on the planet! It is not the Taliban killingcivillians with drone strikes that then target the rescuers.It is not the Taliban using Marines on 40+ night raids daily killing innocent and often prgnant women and babies in their beds! Although I fear that my next observation will be an insult the the animal kingdom I feel it pertinent to the tone of your reply to Mr. Blake. I quote Henry Kissinger ” The Military are dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foriegn policy” to suggest your armed forces are animlas demeans the animals! Afghanistan was peaceful after the Taliban defeated the Soviet military and took power although even I did not approve of their violent methods of governance! Your Claim to have killed Osama Bin Laden in Abbattobad Pakistan removed any reason given for your illegal presence and occupation of that soveriegn nation! The recently seached and subsequent publishing of your Top secret and above top secret messages by a london based organisation proves beyond any reasonable doubt that your military not only torture as a matter of military staregem but deliberately target children for assasination and murder.The acts of illegal war as inumerated by General Wesley Clarke in 2005 shows that the US military had plans to invade and destroy seven soveriegn nations all those years ago. Any claim that these wars were designed to combat terrorism and bring democracy to these seven nations is entirely ficticios fruadulent and a war crime. Still you now have many reterned combat hardened veterans of these dispicable wars now resident in the USA. NO wonder then that President Obama is terrified that these veterans now pose a serious risk to law and Order in the USA. You reap what you sow!

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  • Sexton Blake
    Mar 27, 2013 - 10:39PM

    Dear US CENTCOM,
    Thank you for your missive in reply to mine, but who do you think you are kidding? Approxiamatey 20 years ago, or so, Russia removed itself from the Cold War, and gave America, the only remaining superpower, a glorious opportunity to develop a reasonably peaceful world and at least pretend to be the good cop. Unfortunately, you have taken exactly the opposite approach. A good starting point is 9/11. We will probably never know what really happened, because you have not brought anybody to book at this point, and all we have been able to do is endure unbelievable propaganda about 19 Saudi high-jackers who could hardly drive a car and were just lucky enough to high-jack and fly enormous airliners all around the US countryside on a day when the entire American air force, just by coincidence, was closed down. After that you have used 9/11 to justify overthrowing several countries, murdering their leaders , bombing their countries into the stone age, stealing assets, and killing millions of innocent women and children. I have not been in most of the countries where you have used radio active weaponry, but I do know that you have created serious health problems for Afghan/Pakistan people for the next 4.9 billion years by using your abhorrent weaponry. The solution is obvious. America has to go home and allow the various Muslim countries to run things their way. You may not like their way, but can they be any worse or more brutal than you?

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  • numbersnumbers
    Mar 28, 2013 - 12:01AM

    So you say that 9/11 is portrayed as “unbelievable propaganda about 19 Saudi hijackers…”!
    Please tell us just who actually committed 9/11 since you think you know what really happened!!!
    As for the Air Force, you appear to want to have it both ways, since over ten years after the end of the Cold War, standing combat air patrols around America were a thing of the past! In any case, the flight time between Boston and New York City being measured in minutes left little time for any armed response from any fighters, let alone even understanding what was going to happen before the planes hit the World Trade Center!

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  • Danny Brown
    Mar 28, 2013 - 5:32AM

    Gentlemen:
    It is sometimes easy to miss a major detail when all attention is fixed upon a noisy, albeit minor, distraction.
    Neither CENTCOM or the Obama Administration will acknowledge the fact that the US Military is guarding the world’s largest heroin factory. The product of these industrious narcotics manufacturers is killing more people daily than any military action, overt, covert, or otherwise.
    The ‘theory’ that the CIA/Mossad/MI6 axis of evil is profiting heavily from what is considered to be illegal by ALL civilized countries is heavily supported by the fact that a sophisticated surveillance system, consisting of spies, drones, satellites and corrupted government officials, seems to be unable to spot, let alone arrest, the steady stream of dope and money flowing in and out of that country.
    Last year the Russian Federation reported 30,000 deaths from heroin overdoses. The figure in the USA is dated, with the 2009 figure just short of 4,000 and growing by an estimated 25% per year.
    Mind you, that is only deaths from heroin overdose. The cost of the crimes committed by addicts, including murder, is astronomical but difficult to pin down due to different methods of classification used by different agencies. The bottom line is that the heroin war is just as real as the shooting war. Certainly the dead are just as dead.
    Why does the military not address this scourge? Answer- they want it to be so. So it is.
    -D. Brown

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