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 report by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, 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 U.S. 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 werekilled during the year, said Iraq Body Count, an independent monitoring organisation.
The high militant death toll in Pakistan was driven by the army operations, although battlefield casualty figures are notoriously difficult to confirm.
The army dislodged the Taliban from their Swat stronghold but failed to capture Maulana Fazlullah, who slipped into Afghanistan. the guardian