News / Asia

Pakistan Taliban Claims Responsibility for Assault on Karachi Airport

Smoke rises above the Jinnah International Airport where security forces continue to battle militants, June 9, 2014, in Karachi, Pakistan.
Smoke rises above the Jinnah International Airport where security forces continue to battle militants, June 9, 2014, in Karachi, Pakistan.
Ayaz Gul
— The Pakistani Taliban is claiming responsibility for Sunday night’s deadly assault on the country’s largest international airport in Karachi that left at least 28 people dead, including 10 “terrorists” and more than a dozen security personnel.
 
Authorities say that just before midnight a group of around 10 heavily armed militants, some wearing military uniforms, infiltrated an old terminal at Karachi’s busy Jinnah International Airport.
 
Suspected Taliban insurgents carrying automatic weapons, hand grenades and rocket launchers shot their way into the facility, which is used mainly for cargo and executive flights.
 
The audacious coordinated assault triggered an intense five-hour gun battle with security forces guarding the terminal that lasted into Monday morning.

The army said the airport had been secured by dawn Monday.
 
Flights to Karachi were diverted to other airports as troops joined elite commandos in trying to counter the assault.
 
  • Smoke rises above the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, June 9, 2014.
  • Airport security staff help an injured airline employee, center, leave a terminal following attacks by gunmen at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, June 9, 2014.
  • Police officers display confiscated ammunition and the dead bodies of terrorists who attacked the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, June 9, 2014.
  • Members of the Bomb Disposal Squad defuse explosives and hand grenades along a sidewalk outside Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, June 9, 2014.
  • Paramilitary soldiers arrive at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, June 9, 2014.
  • Security troops rush to a Karachi airport terminal following an attack, June 8, 2014.
  • Army troops arrive at Karachi airport following an attack, June 8, 2014.
  • Fire illuminates the sky above the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, June 8, 2014.

An eyewitness who lives nearby spoke with Reuters.
 
He said loud sounds were coming from the direction of the airport. He and his family saw small fires erupting around the hangars and the firing was so intense it looked like war had broken out between India and Pakistan.
 
The head of the provincial paramilitary force called Rangers told reporters in Karachi that three militants wearing suicide vests blew themselves up while the rest were killed by security forces.

Major-General Rizwan Akhtar added that bodies of the “terrorists” and documents seized from the scene are being examined to determine their identity.  
 
The general says an initial probe suggested the attackers were foreigners, probably fugitive citizens belonging to the Central Asian republic of Uzbekistan.

Analysts describe the Uzbek militants as an integral part of the Pakistani Taliban entrenched in Pakistan’s Waziristan tribal territory on the Afghan border.  
 
Jinnah International Airport, KarachiJinnah International Airport, Karachi
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, an alliance of militant groups waging a bloody insurgency against the state, later claimed responsibility.

A spokesman for the outlawed extremist organization said the attack was conducted in response to recent military strikes against their strongholds along the Afghan border.   
 
Provincial health authorities say the violence wounded more than two dozen people, some seriously. They added that no passengers suffered casualties and planes at the terminal were unharmed.
 
Critics say the airport attack has dealt a critical blow to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s efforts to negotiate a peace settlement with the Pakistani Taliban. The floundering peace process is already under fire from civil society and progressive groups.

Nawaz condemned the attack.
 
Talks would be 'futile'

Former Pakistani air Vice Marshal Shahid Latif said a dialogue with a group that is working only to destabilize the country will lead the government nowhere.
 
“So the government has to realize that this is a futile effort, perhaps they know it but they still remain engaged in the process of dialogue," he said. "It [the government] suffers from indecision it has other priorities without realizing that unless there is peace and law and order situation in the country is under control the economy is not going anywhere.”
 
Pakistani Taliban militants have previously carried out deadly attacks against airports around the country, including military and naval airbases. However, Sunday night’s assault is being described as the biggest in terms of human losses.
 
Meanwhile, authorities in southwestern Baluchistan province said that the death toll in Sunday’s multiple suicide bombings in a remote town bordering Iran has risen to at least 26.

The victims were pilgrims belonging to the minority Shiite Muslim community and had just returned from Iran when four suicide bombers attacked their hotels in the town of Taftan. Authorities suspect a Sunni Muslim militant group also aligned with the Pakistani Taliban.

Baluchistan's home minister, Sarfaraz Bugti, said security forces killed one bomber while three others blew themselves up.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Shafiq azad from: Afghanistan
June 10, 2014 12:17 AM
Islam is a religion that just produce violence and misery


by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
June 09, 2014 7:22 PM
Islam is the most violent religion in the world. you don't have to speared your message by violence, no. It is the Spirit of God that draw a person to him. Jesus give a profound statement in John 12, He said if I be lifted up, I will draw all man unto me. It is for the world to recognize Islam is the problem in the world. It is time for the world to speak the truth. And stop hiding behind hypocrisy. Every time I speak about the violence of Islam, they proved me right.Just last week, I wrote about Islam and how Mohammed started his religion with violence, and the VOA editor didn't published my writing. which of course I do respect the editor. However Islam has proved me right again. The world will not have no peace as long as Islam is in the world.The world has big mess to deal with. We are so sorry for the innocent people that died in the airport attack. May God has mercy on their soul.

In Response

by: Shafiq azad from: Afghanistan
June 10, 2014 12:10 AM
What you said is completely right my friend


by: ginkgo from: ChangSha
June 09, 2014 7:18 AM
all of the world should work together to against terrific attraction.


by: Hamidi from: Kabul Afghanistan
June 09, 2014 5:17 AM
I am Very sorry for the mourners of the Civilian killed in this sad incident and my special condolence for them, But Pakistan government can’t complain regarding this incident, because Pakistan is the only nest of terrorism, we have a famous proverb in Afghanistan “what you have cultivated you will collect the harvest” So as Pakistan is a very qualified and experienced training center for the terrorism so they have to accept this kind of incidents as usual,
Best
Hamidi

In Response

by: Rocky from: USA
June 10, 2014 2:17 AM
Hamidi,
I agree. When the U.S. went to war with the Taliban the Pakistani military did nothing to prevent them from crossing the mountains into Pakistan from Afghanistan. In fact, they made it difficult for the Americna military to do so. They harbored Bin Laden, nearly in plain sight near their own military bases.
Now the Taliban has turned on them. It's tragic for the loss of life but I hope in the future countries will understand that despite pretending to be devout and religious they are really simply violent and powerhungry, using the Quran as justification for their crimes.
I don't believe Islam is the cause, I think any religion based in this area would be violent and would use it's holiest books to justify it's terrible actions.

In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
June 09, 2014 10:45 AM
REMEMBER? -- Most of the Mujahideen that defeated the Russians in Afghanistan, (were trained in Pakistan), with weapons supplied by the US, China, Iran, and others?

The US attacked Afghanistan to avenge the Al-Qaeda attack of 09-11-2001 on the US, and to defeat the Taliban government who were supporting and providing training basses in Afghanistan to Al-Qaeda -- (AND THEN?) -- the Taliban were driven into Pakistan, (and now), Pakistan is paying the price for the US invasion, and the Afghan people's incompetence to prevent the Afghan Taliban to rule their country..

Pakistan made the biggest mistake when they took the US blood money, and signed an "Unequal Treaty" with the US, giving them the right to kill any Pakistani, without being prosecuted for it? -- Thousands of Pakistani citizens have died since they entered the US "War on Terror" -- haven't they?

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