News / Asia

Taliban Attack Karachi Military Base, 7 Killed

Pakistani troops drive past a wreckage of a gutted aircraft at Pakistan Navy base in Karachi, Pakistan, May 23, 2011
Pakistani troops drive past a wreckage of a gutted aircraft at Pakistan Navy base in Karachi, Pakistan, May 23, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

Militants in Pakistan attacked a naval base in the commercial capitol of the country, Karachi, killing at least seven people.

Gunmen launched a coordinated three-pronged attack on the Mehran naval base late Sunday and the clash with security forces lasted well into the midday on Monday.

Elite Pakistani commando and ranger forces were rushed to the base and quickly cordoned off the area.

Police say 15 to 20 militants attacked the Mehran naval aviation station armed with guns and grenades.

Residents in the area say they heard three initial explosions that started the hours long fight. Several more explosions were heard throughout the night.

At least one U.S.-supplied surveillance and anti-submarine aircraft was destroyed in the attack.

A Taliban spokesman said the attack was launched to avenge the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed in Pakistan earlier this month by U.S. special forces.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik rushed to the scene to assess the damage.  He said the government will defeat the militants.

"Taliban and Al Qaida has announced earlier that they would attack Pakistan’s armed forces and they have done this first act, and that is why they say Pakistan is on war, Pakistan is suffering, Pakistan is a victim," he said. "And we have the courage, we have the resolve to fight.  And we will keep on fighting until the demise of these terrorists."

Many Pakistanis are becoming increasingly critical of the military - an institution that traditionally has been beyond reproach. But in the fallout from the Bin Laden raid there are questions about how well the security forces can protect the nation.

Adnan Afsar, a local resident near the Mehran Naval Base, expressed his frustration with the security forces.

"You can see how much security there is around this place," he says. "No ordinary person can get inside. How did these people get in? It means our security is incompetent," he says. "This is obviously a security failure."

Critics also point to the fact that there have been a number of very public threats made in statements by extremist groups inside Pakistan.

The fact that the gunmen were able to coordinate and infiltrate the base from three directions also has many in the Pakistani media questioning if there was some inside help - furthering concerns that the military has been infiltrated with those who are sympathetic to the extremist cause.

There is also growing concern that Pakistan’s security forces are unable to adequately protect and defend the country’s assets: including the nation’s nuclear assets.

Security Analyst Ikram Sehgal says the government and the military should have known the situation following the Bin Laden raid would be dangerous and thus put all security forces on high alert.

"We need all our security forces to be in a state of the highest alert," said Sehgal. "And I am sorry to say, somebody must be held accountable and some action must be taken."

The Pakistan government has launched four inquiries into the May 2 raid that killed bin Laden and sparked the current crisis.

Authorities say there will also be a full investigation into this most recent attack.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid