Widespread civil unrest dom-inated the beginning of the period, affecting all regional, and many provincial, centres. While the majority of these were benign, events in the North and South eclipsed the rest in both scope and vio-lence. The protests in Mazar, which directly affected UNA-MA and claimed the lives of 7 staff, were focused in their impact while those in Kanda-har (occurring over 2 days) were more diffuse, though they did impact an INGO office. Of note, public gath-erings of this size are relative-ly rare there, a reality that speaks to the prevailing insta-bility’s affect on the popula-tion. It appears that both cases presented a clear align-ment of goals between the public and opposition groups, a factor that was the key driver in how events un-folded.
The relocation (read: with-drawal) of the small scale PRT contingent from Saman-gan in the North went rela-tively unnoticed (due to the events above) but is worth mentioning. This occurred as a direct result of a govern-ment/populace request and is noteworthy as it represents the first such case reported. It should also be noted that this move occurred outside the ‘transition’ framework and at present there is no information indicating whether that contingent will redeploy in the near term.
Following a surprisingly kinetic March, April trend-ing indicates that this month will likely reach pari-ty with last month, as well as surpass those volumes recorded in this period last year (see graph p.4). As has been the case for most of 2011, Helmand in the South is one of the key provinces driving these volumes, though Kunar and Khost in the East continue to post high figures as well. Of note, Herat, Badghis and Farah in the West have also posted figures generally higher than most provinces in the Central and Northern Regions.
Beyond the INGO office impacted in the recent civil unrest, there were three other NGO direct incidents this period. In line with trends identified from the 1st quarter, 2 of these oc-curred in the East (Nangarhar, Kunar) with the final one from the North (Badakhshan). Not only do these two regions regularly account for the highest countrywide per-centages (see graph p.9), taking into account these latest events, Nangarhar and Badakhshan have rec-orded the highest provincial NGO volumes this year, for 7 and 5 respectively.
Suicide attacks were in the fore this period, with 2 SVBIEDs, 5 BBIEDs, along with 2 complex at-tacks that included multiple suicide attack vectors. The Central, East and Southern Regions accounted for 3 incidents each. With the exception of the incident in Kunar (targeting a local leader with an anti-Taliban bent) these incidents exclu-sively targeted security forces, both IMF and ANSF. However, when unpacking the incidents, one sees a broad range of tactical goals, as well as varying degrees of tactical efficacy. These included the specific targeting of individuals (Kandahar,
Kunar); general targeting of security elements (Paktya,
Laghman, Kabul); as well as the complex attacks whose ultimate goal was penetration of a secure facility in order to maxim-ise casualties (Kandahar,
Kabul). While the long term suicide attack rate statistics indicate that the use of this tactic peaked in 2007 (see graph on p.22), one should take into ac-count the increasing use of multiple attackers in com-plex attacks, a tactic less common during that time.