Taking stock: Pakistani Taliban releases 'annual report,' claims hundreds of killings

Islamabad: The Pakistani Taliban has released its first annual report, claiming it killed hundreds of people in 2015, with analysts suggesting its "inflated" figures illustrate the jihadists' struggle to demonstrate their capability as security improves.

The report, written in Urdu, is a detailed list of attacks carried out on security forces, police and politicians in several Pakistani cities and the northwestern tribal areas between 3 January and 26 December.

Released on 29 December, it says that in 2015 the Pakistani Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) carried out 73 target killings, 12 ambush attacks, 10 raids, 19 IED (Improvised Explosive Device) blasts, five suicide attacks, 17 missile attacks and shot down two helicopters, and claims it killed some 686 people in 2015.

Claims by the TTP are often exaggerated. In the report, for example, it claims that it killed 247 people in an attack on Peshawar's Badaber airforce base in September. The official death toll was 29.

Taliban fighters in Pakistan. Representational image. Reuters

Taliban fighters in Pakistan. Representational image. Reuters

"This report mostly carries big claims, but there is no evidence to support these claims which are often inflated," said Pakistani analyst Rahimullah Yousafzai.

"They have realised that this kind of report is necessary to show people that they are still active and potent," Yousafzai told AFP.

Pakistan has been battling a homegrown Islamist insurgency for over a decade, with more than 27,000 civilians and security personnel dying in extremist attacks, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, a monitoring site.

But overall levels of extremist-linked violence dropped dramatically last year, with 2015 seeing the fewest deaths since 2007 - the year the Pakistani Taliban umbrella group was formed.

Analysts have credited the fall to military offensives against the Taliban in the tribal areas of North Waziristan and Khyber where they are headquartered, as well as operations in the country's largest city of Karachi.

Authorities have also taken steps to shut down insurgents' sources of funding and arrested thousands for inciting hatred under a National Action Plan to curb militancy.

Yousafzai suggested the TTP had issued the annual report because "people are saying that their campaign has weakened".

Amir Rana, the director of the independent Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS), said despite the setbacks the TTP remained operational in Pakistan.

"Its real operational strengths are its affiliates and support networks, which still exist inside Pakistan and...will take time to break," Rana said.


Updated Date: Jan 05, 2016 21:08 PM

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