42 dead in attack at PAF base in Peshawar — includes 13 attackers
PESHAWAR: Heavily-armed militants attacked the Pakistan Air Force base Badaber in Peshawar this morning, killing 29 people, says PAF spokesperson. These included 16 worshippers at a mosque located inside the base camp while three PAF technicians and an army captain were also killed battling with militants. Army soldiers quickly surrounded the attackers, confining them to a small area and killing at least 13 of them, said Pakistan’s military spokesman. ARY News reported in the evening that at least one attacker had been caught alive.
The was the terrorists’ first high-profile commando-style assault in months following a major military offensive against them. The last time an attack on a military installation took place was at the Pakistan Navy’s dockyard in Karachi in September 2014. The death toll of 29 makes this attack deadlier than even the one in 2011 on PNS Mehran Base in Karachi.
Read also: Attackers used different strategy at Badaber
The Pakistan military’s spokesman Major-General Asim Bajwa has confirmed death of 13 militants.
He also said that the strategic assets of the Pakistan Air Force were safe and secured.
The DG ISPR said militants were clad in Frontier Constabulary uniforms.
At least 20 people including two officers and eight other soldiers have been injured so far including Major Haseeb of the Quick Reaction Force which had responded to the attack.
16 worshippers gunned down by terrorists
The DG ISPR stated that attackers split into two groups after arriving at the PAF facility — one group entered the mosque within the Air Force camp and shot dead 16 people offering prayers at the mosque.
While the other group engaged in gunfire with the forces, who responded quickly to the attack.
Were contained within a close area.Meanwhile a gp rushed to mosque,martyred 16 Namazi offering prayers.Were surrounded,13 killed,continues-9
— AsimBajwaISPR (@AsimBajwaISPR) September 18, 2015
Army captain killed
The ISPR said Captain Asfandyar embraced martyrdom while fighting valiantly and leading his troops from the front.
After the killing of PAF captain, a hashtag titled “#IAmWithAsfandyar” started trending on Twitter in Pakistan, with torrents of tweets coming in to pay tribute to the slain captain.
— A Good Soldier (@soldier_pk) September 18, 2015
Three PAF officers die
The PAF spokesperson has said three of its junior technicians – identified as Shan Ali, Tariq Abbas, Saqib Javaid – were killed who gallantly fought against the terrorists. The spokesperson said the PAF officers fearlessly confronted the armed terrorists and restricted them from proceeding into other areas of the camp and ’embraced martyrdom’.
Funeral prayers offered
The funeral prayers of the 20 slain people including three PAF officers and an Army captain were offered in Peshawar.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, Air Marshal Sohail Aman, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and other military and government officials were also present.
Taliban claim responsibility
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the assault, with TTP spokesman Muhammad Khurasani saying in an email to AFP: “Our suicidal unit carried out the attack.”
The army intensified its offensive after the school attack and since then there has been something of a lull in violence. The last major attack in the city came in February when three heavily armed Taliban militants stormed a Shiite mosque, killing 21 people.
A TTP faction last month claimed responsibility for a double suicide bombing that killed the home minister of Punjab province along with 15 other people.
PM, Army Chief in Peshawar
Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif has reached Peshawar to witness the situation and supervise clearing up operation this afternoon.
He visited the Corps headquarters where he was briefed about the operation against the terrorists. The Army Chief will also visit the injured personnel of the Armed forces who took part in the operation.
PM Nawaz Sharif also reached Peshawar couple of hours after the army chief made it to the provincial capital of KP. He arrived at the Combined Military Hospital to inquire after the health of the injured.
Big loss ‘averted’
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has said the personnel of the armed forces quickly responded to the attack of militants on PAF base camp and averted the ‘big loss’. He paid tributes to the valiant and fearless soldiers who sacrificed their lives in fight against terrorism.
The security have arrested at least 10 suspects from nearby PAF Base areas. They have been moved to undisclosed location for interrogation.
The security has been beefed up across the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtonwa following the militants attack on PAF Base in Peshawar.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies also raided a house of criminal Taji Khokhar’s den in Islamabad and seized huge cache of weapons. Some people were also detained during the raid.
Vehicle used by terrorists in the attack
An ARY News reporter at the scene said that it was unclear how many attackers were still left. The attack took place at 6.22 am when a group of 7-10 attackers entered the base. The attackers were armed with automatic weapons and weapons, an ARY News reporter at the scene said.
The reporter said that the road to the base is usually dotted with checkposts but that the attackers managed to reach its gate in a vehicle. Major-General Bajwa said that the local brigade commander was leading the response against the militants and that the Quick Reaction Force was assisting.
In his most recent tweet on the incident, the Pakistan Army spokesman said that six terrorists had been killed.
Badaber PAF Base: Terrorists attk guard room early morning.Quick reaction force reached,surrounded, isolated them.Fire exch continues- 1 — AsimBajwaISPR (@AsimBajwaISPR) September 18, 2015
Badaber Update:5 terrorists killed so far. Clearance ops in progress.Maj Haseeb of QRF injured.Recd bullet in thigh.Evacuated 2 CMH-5 — AsimBajwaISPR (@AsimBajwaISPR) September 18, 2015
Badaber Update:As per initial info,7-10 terrorists tried to break deep in the Base.Terrorists engaged,contained around guard room area-2 — AsimBajwaISPR (@AsimBajwaISPR) September 18, 2015
Badaber Update:Entire response mechanism reacted quickly.Effectively surrounded,confined Ts in small area.3 Terrorists killed so far-3 — AsimBajwaISPR (@AsimBajwaISPR) September 18, 2015
At the time of attack, an ARY News reporter at the scene spoke to a man who identified himself as Shakirullah who said that his son was inside the base and that he was tried to contact him but couldn’t. In response to a question he said that the security at the base was very good.
He said the base was used more as a residential area for PAF staff and soldiers. Shakirullah, who said that his son was a watchman at the base, said that he heard loud noises along with explosions at around the time of Fajr prayers. In response to another question, he said that the guard room was at the gate of the base, and that the attackers did not go beyond the gate.
Even as the attack was underway, and as news came of a Major Haseeb being shot in the leg while defending the base, tweets appeared praising his valour.
Proud of our soldiers standing firm against the terrorists at the BadaberBase,Peshawar.Dua for the injured Major Haseeb,&all others fighting — Mehr Tarar (@MehrTarar) September 18, 2015
PM condemns attack on PAF base in Peshawar
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has condemned the attack on the PAF Badaber base in Peshawar and said the mission to eliminate terrorism will continue with full zeal. He expressed sympathies with the personnel of law enforcement agencies injured in the incident. Pakistan Air Force in a statement said that Air Chief Sohail Aman telephoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and briefed him about current situation after the terrorist attack on PAF base in Peshawar. PM Sharif has directed Defence Minister Khawaja Asif to reach Peshawar. He said the government and people are with victims of terrorist attack. Corps Commander Peshawar Lt. Gen. Hidayatur Rehman supervising the search operation at the PAF base.
List of attacks on military installations and bases in Pakistan
- One personnel of the Pakistan Navy and two militants were killed when militants attacked the Navy’s dockyard in Karachi on September 9, 2014. Six soldiers and an officer were wounded in the attack and the Taliban claimed carrying it out. Security forces arrested four of the militants.
- On June 8, 2014, 10 attackers including suicide bombers attacked Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport. Thirty-six people were killed in the attack on the airport, including 10 attackers, and 18 others were injured. Outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) initially claimed responsibility for the attack. The attackers were foreigners of Uzbek origin who belonged to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), an ally of the TTP.The TTP later confirmed that the attack was a joint operation they executed with the IMU, who independently admitted to having supplied its members for the attack.
- On August 16, 2012, Tehrik-e-Taliban attackers attacked the PAF Base Minhas at Kamra in Punjab’s Attock district. The base commander led the response and was himself injured. However, all nine attackers were killed and two soldiers also died.
- Attack on PAF Base Mehran in Karachi on May 22-23, 2011 — it lasted almost two days and caused the deaths of 22 people included 18 soldiers and officers and 4 attackers. Several aircraft on the tarmac were damaged in the attack.
- A school bus carrying children of PAF employees was attacked by a suicide bomber in December 2007 near the Fauji gate outside the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra. Several people were injured.
- Attackers fired four rockets on the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex on January 18, 2008. No casualties were reported.
Badaber’s interesting past
The PAF Badaber base outside Peshawar where the attack took place this morning has an interesting past. From July 17, 1959 to January 7, 1970, it was used by America’s Central Intelligence Agency and the United States Air Force Security Service as a listening post on the Soviet Union. The 6937th Communications Group was housed at the base during this time. A view of the footwear worn by the attackers — which experts who follow security and terrorism issues in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region say is usually worn by Taliban militants. The army launched the “Zarb-e-Azb” operation in June 2014 in a bid to wipe out militant bases in North Waziristan tribal area and so bring an end to the bloody decade-long Islamist insurgency that has cost Pakistan thousands of lives.
Condolences, condemnations on social media
Salute bravery of Capt Asfandyar who led his troops to defeat terrorists’ plans & embraced martyrdom. Prayers for recovery of the injured. — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) September 18, 2015
The martyrdom of our soldiers &ppl is meaningful,Nation stands firm agnst terrorism,this is all to make our country a better place 2 live in — Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) September 18, 2015
Pakistanis pay tribute to fallen hero Captain Asfandyar, on Twitter
With the hashtag #IAmAsfandyar trending on micro-blogging site Twitter, here’s what Pakistan’s Twitter users had to say about the martyr’s sacrifice:-
— Faris Ali Khan (@FarisAliKhan2) September 18, 2015
— Riz Khan (@Huzefa1983) September 18, 2015
— Riz Khan (@Huzefa1983) September 18, 2015
— Abdul Qayum (@AQS167) September 18, 2015
The bravery shown by this man is exemplary,may Allah grant him the highest place in Jannah #IamAsfandYar
— Rafay Jamil (@RJomg) September 18, 2015
Martyrs never die! #IamAsfandYar
— M’ (@Misha_sayed) September 18, 2015
US Ambassador Richard Olson condemns Badaber attack
American Ambassador Richard G. Olson also condemned the attack in Peshawar’s Badaber base today and said that the attack on worshippers was a cowardly act. He further said that this was a nefarious act against humanity.
Asfandyar’s teacher dedicates letter to him
Captain Asfandyar, who lost his life battling the terrorists who had tried to enter Badaber base yesterday morning and killed several people, was honoured by his Cadet College teacher. He wrote a letter, citing Asfandyar’s qualities as a student and soldier early on.
Weapons, ammo recovered from militants
PAF base FIR registered
FIR was lodged against the perpetrators of the PAF base attack of yesterday, who were named as unidentified persons.
Read more: PAF base FIR registered