Grim Trends in Afghanistan Violence

More evidence that violence is on the increase in Afghanistan. According to the UN,  the  number of “security incidents” is nearly 40% above what it was last year at this time.  Also, in 2011 so far, there has been an average of 12 suicide attacks…per month.

From the UN Secretary General’s quarterly report to the Security Council on the activities of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, which was presented yesterday:

There were fewer security incidents in July (2,605) and August (2,306) than in June (2,626). As at the end of August, the average monthly number of incidents for 2011 was 2,108, up 39 per cent compared with the same period in 2010. Armed clashes and improvised explosive devices continued to constitute the majority of incidents. The south and south-east of the country, particularly around the city of Kandahar, continued to be the focus of military activity and accounted for approximately two thirds of total security incidents.

There were 9 suicide attacks in July, the third successive monthly decrease from a peak of 17 in April. There were 11 suicide attacks in August. As at the end of August, the average monthly number of suicide attacks for 2011 was 12, a level that was unchanged compared with the same period in 2010. Complex suicide attacks made up a greater proportion of the total number of suicide attacks. On average, three such attacks have been carried out per month in 2011, a 50 per cent increase compared with the same period in 2010. Insurgents continued to launch complex suicide attacks in urban centres, including the attacks on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul on 28 June, on the British Council in Kabul on 19 August, in the vicinity of the United States Embassy in Kabul on 13 September and on provincial centres, such as the one on Tirin Kot, Uruzgan Province, on 28 July. The focus of suicide attacks was no longer southern Afghanistan, the central region currently accounting for 21 per cent of such attacks.

As in the previous reporting period, insurgents continued to conduct a campaign of intimidation, including through the targeted assassination of high- ranking Government officials, members of the security forces and influential local political and religious leaders. There were 54 incidents in July and 72 in August, killing 89 and 93 individuals, respectively. The following four high-level persons from southern Afghanistan were killed in July: Ahmad Wali Karzai, Head of Kandahar Provincial Council; Hikmatullah Hikmat, Head of Kandahar Ulema Shura; Jan Muhammad Khan, Senior Adviser to the President; and Ghulam Haydar Hamidi, Mayor of Kandahar. News of the assassinations reverberated across the country, raising concerns for the political stability of the south, given the influence exerted by those killed and their ties to the Government in Kabul.