News / Asia

Militants Launch Deadly Assault on Pakistani Airbase

Paramilitary soldiers guard main entrance of air force base in Kamra, Punjab province, August 16, 2012.
Paramilitary soldiers guard main entrance of air force base in Kamra, Punjab province, August 16, 2012.
Ayaz Gul
ISLAMABAD — Authorities in Pakistan say they have killed all of the heavily-armed militants who assaulted a major air base early Thursday.  Officials have also denied claims that the facility houses some of the country’s nuclear weapons.
 
According to authorities, a group of up to nine militants armed with weapons and rocket-propelled grenades was involved in the brazen assault on one of Pakistan’s key air force installations in the garrison town of Kamara, 75 kilometers northwest of the Pakistani capital.
 
Defense Minister Naveed Qamar told reporters the militants had explosives strapped to their bodies but were intercepted and killed by security forces in a firefight that lasted for several hours.
 
The defense minister claimed "the assault was aimed at destroying the entire facility to weaken Pakistan’s defense capabilities but security forces thwarted the attempt with minimum losses". He says the fighting left one soldier dead and slightly wounded the base commander, who was leading the security operation.

Kamra, PakistanKamra, Pakistan
x
Kamra, Pakistan
Kamra, Pakistan
Authorities have confirmed that one of the more than 30 aircraft present on the facility at the time of attack was also damaged.

Pakistani officials denied reports the facility possessed nuclear weapons, saying concerns about the safety of the nuclear arsenal are misplaced. Moazam Ahmed Khan is the foreign ministry spokesman.
 
“Nobody should really worry about the security and safety of our [nuclear] assets. They are in safe hands. All measures have been taken and they are totally safe and sound,” he said.
 
Taliban responsible

The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the early morning assault on the air force base.
 
Last year, several militants assaulted a naval base in the port city of Karachi, killing 10 soldiers and destroying two maritime surveillance aircraft. And a 2009 attack on the powerful military’s headquarters had killed 14 troops including senior officers.
 
Thursday’s attack follows reports that Pakistani military officials may be planning an offensive against Taliban militants in the North Waziristan tribal agency.
 
Campaign of violence

In recent months Pakistani authorities have claimed that successive military offensives have significantly crippled the extremist groups waging a violent campaign against the Pakistani government.  
 
Chairman of the Senate’s Defense Committee Mushahid Hussain, whose party is a partner in the governing coalition in Pakistan, said that repeated high-profile terrorist attacks on security institutions undermine that claim, pointing to a failure of intelligence coordination.
 
“It seems that terrorist organizations and terrorist groups, which are apparently well organized and highly motivated, are able to attack with impunity at a time and target of their own choosing,” said Hussain.
 
The fleet at the Minhas Airbase, which came under attack on Thursday, also includes JF-17 Thunder aircraft, jointly produced with China. Sources say that Chinese maintenance experts are usually present at the facility.
 
Also Thursday, a group of suspected Sunni Muslim militants attacked three passenger buses in the northern mountainous Mansehra region, killing at least 22 people.  Authorities say that the victims were minority Shi'ite Muslims.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid