The Third Quarter Security report from the FATA Research Centre shows that 878 people died in this region of Pakistan from July to September, with another 391 injured.
Most of those killed - 342 - died in 48 clashes between the security forces and militants - to which should be added another 209 militants killed in clashes with the Army in Bajaur Agency, whilst another 71 people died in bomb blasts. US drone attacks killed 113 people, whilst landmines and IEDs killed another 27 people.
Overall, violent incidents increased in FATA during Q3. A breakdown of the casualties suggests that of the total of 1,269 people killed or injured, 625 were militants, 479 were civilians, 126 were security personnel and 39 were pro-government militia. Total casualties were up from 1010 in Q2, with the majority of incidents and casualties taking place in Khyber, Orakzai, Bajaur and North Waziristan Agencies.
The report points out some interesting developments in relation to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). In Khyber, for example, the murder of prominent militant Tariq Afridi has led to increased tensions with the TTP: "After the killing of Tariq Afridi, there is confusion among different ranks of TTP militants; and leaders have started to feel threatened for their lives. The situation remains unstable and must be closely observed as critical decisions are being made amongst the top tier of militants in the region."
The report notes that the TTP is pressurising the local tribes in North Waziristan to move to Afghanistan if the area becomes the subject of a Pakistan Army offensive. However, there is resistance, particularly from the Mahsud tribe that makes up much of the TTP foot soldiers.
The report also notes the rising importance of Wali ur Rahman, ostensibly second in command of the TTP, but now in the ascendancy compared to titular leader Hakimullah Mahsud: "Hakimullah is believed to be on drugs these days, he is considered mentally weak, and is on constant run from military. Hakimullah has also reportedly issued orders for killing Tariq Afridi and as a result has lost his support from high profile Taliban commanders. On the other hand, his counterpart Wali Rehman is considered comparatively cool minded, realist and rational."
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