“The attackers came from Afghanistan and the whole foul play was planned in the neighbouring country. This attack was being executed through direct coordination from Afghanistan as well,” he informed, while addressing a press conference this evening.
“When you’re in a state of war, such attacks may occur. But the way such terror strikes are responded and retaliated should also be observed,” said Mr. Bajwa.
He said terrorists attacked people who were vulnerable and offering prayers at a mosque.
He also said that the forces would continue their operation until complete elimination of terrorism from Pakistan’s soil.
The military’s spokesperson revealed that 29 people had embraced martyrdom during the attack. He told that terrorists were restricted far behind from a sensitive area and they had planned to target a large number of civilians, but forces foiled their plan.
Giving the breakdown of casualties, of the total 29, he said 23 of the dead are from Pakistan Air Force, three from the army — 16 of them were offering prayers in the mosque, while seven others including two civilians were in a nearby barrack performing ablution.
He said the number of injured was also 29. “It was a civilian and an open area that allowed terrorists to enter PAF facility.”
How the attack was carried out?
The DG ISPR said terrorists sneaked into the PAF facility from the main gate and split into two groups.
They got immediate response from Air Force guards. The guards responded effectively and in a gallant manner.
One group proceeded towards the administrative area while another moved towards the technical area. Within 10 minutes, the Quick Reaction Force reached the spot and engaged the militants.
He said the attackers were confined within 50 meters and the fight ensued within the same radius. The Fajr prayer had just commenced when the attackers barged into the base camp.
The militants martyred 16 worshippers at the mosque using heavy guns and hand grenades. At least eight attackers had attacked the mosque, he added.
Similarly, other group of terrorists had forced their way into the vehicle parking area and hid themselves under washing pit. Guards of Defence Services Group also joined our fighting forces shortly after the attack, he said.
Later SSG commandos and other armed forces personnel arrived at the spot to respond to the terrorists, he said.
“Alhamdulillah, the role of coordination among forces was vital and successful in responding to the militants’ attack,” said the DG ISPR.
He, however, said it is quite possible that the driver who operated the vehicle carrying terrorists could have left.
He didn’t confirm media reports keeping the number of attackers at 16. He said “Whichever terrorist entered the PAF base camp has been killed.”
TTP group behind attack
The military’s spokesperson said it was a splinter group of TTP which launched an attack on PAF base camp.
He said he would share further information as it transpires.
He thanked the media for keeping nation ‘objectively informed’.
Pakistan has 2.5 million refugees and several such of them cross into the country. Not all of them arrive here for work or vocation. They mingle among the general public here, explained the DG ISPR.
“We have successfully tackled terrorism and we have seen results of Zarb-e-Azb,” he said.
He maintained that the nation was united, focused on eliminating terrorism from the country. “I dont see people becoming frightened from this incident. Our armed forces will continue defending our soil and crush such attackers.”