Taliban attack Pakistan Air Force base, 29 killed
At least 42 people, including 13 terrorists, were killed as the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) camp at Inqalab road in Peshawar’s Badaber area came under attack by Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants early Friday, Dawn reports.
Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We have recordings which reveal the attack was planned, executed and controlled (by TTP) from Afghanistan,” army spokesman Maj. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa said, hours after the attack which left 29 soldiers or worshippers dead.
Among those dead were Pakistan Army’s Captain Asfandyar and two PAF technicians.
The assault on the Badaber air base came as the army has been carrying out a major operation, Zarb-e-Azb, against local and foreign militants in North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan.
Around 5 am, 13 to 14 militants came in a car to PAF base, used rocket launchers to enter the gate and divided themselves into two groups.
A quick reaction force reached within 10 minutes and engaged the militants. It appeared as if the attackers had some sort of inside information.
“There was a mosque on the side and worshippers were waiting for the azaan, when one group attacked them. Sixteen people waiting to pray were killed and nine people doing wuzu were also killed,” Bajwa said.
The quick reaction force surrounded eight of the militants present in the mosque and killed them. By 9.30 am, all militants were killed.
Reiterating the resolve to eliminate terrorism, Bajwa said, “Operation Zarb-e-Azb is continuing and will until the elimination of the last terrorist.”
The Badaber air base, located on the edge of Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, was not functional and it was mostly being used as a residential place for the employees and officers of the air force. The base was established in 1960s.
The attack came a day after a counter-terrorism officer Junaid Khan in Karachi said they had arrested a militant who recently made a failed attempt to target an air force facility in Kamra in the northwest. He identified the arrested person as Umar Hayat and said officers were questioning him.