The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed the attack on the PAF Badaber base in Peshawar on September 18 in a video that lasted over five minutes and which also showed the banned group’s Darra Adamkhel commander Umar Mansoor seeing off a total of 16 attackers.
Reuters quoted the TTP spokesman Muhammad Khorasani as saying: “We proudly claim responsibility for the attack on Pakistani air base. This base is being used by fighter jets for bombing us.”
This was an apparent reference to the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb against militants in Pakistan’s northwest Federally Administered Tribal Areas and which has been billed as a major success by the military, the Government of Pakistan and the international community as well.
The mastermind behind the PAF Badaber base attack — in which 29 people, mostly in the forces and a few civilians, lost their lives and all the attackers were killed — is said to be Umar Mansoor, also known as Khalif Umar. In the video that was released by the TTP, he is seen with the purported attackers. There is also an unnamed child in the propaganda video.
The video also lists the name of all the attackers though their faces are blanked out throughout.
Mastermind also of Peshawar Army Public School attack
In December 2014, following one of Pakistan’s most tragic terrorist attacks in which over 140 school children were killed by militants as they attacked Peshawar’s Army Public School, the TTP commander released a video (complete with English sub-titles) slightly under two minutes in length, claiming that the attack was in retaliation to the Zarb-e-Azb military operation.
In that video, Umar Mansoor had threatened that there would be more such “revenge” attacks if the military operation was not stopped.
Reports of that time indicate that security agencies had in fact intercepted communication between Umar Mansoor and the attackers during their attack which lasted almost seven hours. It was also reported that his call to the attackers had been traced to Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, which borders Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and due west of Peshawar and its surrounding areas (the Torkham land border opens into Nangarhar province, of which Jalalabad is capital). Umar Mansoor is also believed by security agencies to be linked to the Tariq Geedar group of the TTP.