Wednesday, nine militants dressed in uniforms and armed with guns and rocket
launchers stormed Kamra air force base that assembles Mirage and JF-17 fighter
Thunder fighter jets in collaboration with China. All the attackers were killed
while one air force official also lost his life. It took five hours to
eliminate the attackers. Among those who were injured included the base
commander Air Commodore Mohammad Azam who oversaw and took part in the
Officials said that only one of aircraft at the base was damaged in the attack. Several squadrons of fighters and surveillance planes are believed to be housed at Kamra's Minhas base. Officials also confirmed that over 30 planes were parked at the base, including state-of-the-art JF-17 Thunder fighter jets.
to reports, at least 11 Chinese engineers were working at the Kamra
Aeronautical Complex. Chinese and others
foreign engineers and technicians involved in co-production of Chinese and
Pakistan JF-17 Thunder aircraft project were shifted to a high profile secure
location, official sources told Dawn.com, adding that the engineers were not
present near the attack area.
2011, Naval Base PNS Mehran located in Karachi was attacked in a similar
manner. At least 10 military personnel were killed and 20 wounded in the 16-hour
assault. Two P-3C Orion aircrafts were destroyed during the attack.
This is not
the first time that Kamra has been the target of a militant attack. On Oct 23, 2009, a suicide bomber blew
himself up at the entrance of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra. Two
security officers and six other people were killed in the attack.
Dawn quoted Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan as saying that nine heavily
armed TTP militants stormed the airbase, located about 70 kms from the capital
Islamabad. "The attack was launched from two different sides. A team of four
members entered from one side and five from the other and than they launched a
collective attack inside the camp," Ehsan told Dawn.com, speaking from an
undisclosed location, confirming that all nine attackers were killed in the
assault. The militant spokesman further claimed that they had achieved their
targets and killed "more than a dozen security personnel" inside the base.
terrorist attack on heavily guarded Kamra aeronautical complex came days after US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's statement
that Pakistan military plans to launch combat operation in Northern Waziristan.
Kamra attack and Panetta's statement have sparked heated debate on Pakistan
military's operations in the volatile tribal territories along the Pak-Afghanistan
all major political parties, except the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, are
opposed to any new military operation.
Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan while commenting on the Kamra attack suggested that it may be a reaction the reports that the army was planning to launch another operation in Northen Waziristan. Khan said the PTI opposed the idea of a military operation in North Waziristan from the very first day. Last month Imran Khan announced that he will take a peace caravan to Waziristan by late September. "We will take representatives of human rights organizations and the media with us. We will march for peace," Khan told a rally in the border town of Peshawar. He said that the party wants to show the government that "innocent people' are being killed in the area. According to Khan, the party is holding protests to force the government to come out of the US war. "This is not our war, this is not Pakistan's war," Khan said.
opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Wednesday warned the
army against launching any operation against militants in North Waziristan,
saying it might prove counter-productive and result in further increase in
terrorism. Opposition leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali
cautioned military not to push the country into a war at the behest of foreign
powers. He lamented over the ongoing
war, saying the country had been suffering due to the US-led war and that a new
operation in North Waziristan would augment the situation, increasing terrorism
in the country.
another major political party, Jamaat-e-Islami, Syed Munawar Hasan has also
expressed his deep concern over the reports that military leadership has
decided to launch a military operation in North Waziristan. In a statement, he
said the decision had been taken under US pressure. "At last, the military
leadership has yielded to the US pressure and decided to launch a military
operation in North Waziristan," he said adding that the decision had been taken
soon after the DG ISI visit to the US which indicated that the operation in
North Waziristan was being launched under US pressure. He warned that military
operation in North Waziristan would result in further destruction of the
country. "It will prove a fatal decision and inflict harm to the security and
integrity of the country," he added.
Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani was alive to the mounting
opposition to its operation when he said on August 14: "The fight against extremism and terrorism is
our own war and we are right in fighting it. Let there be no doubt about it,
otherwise we'll be divided and taken towards civil war. Our minds should be
clear on this."
Pakistan army remains
under US pressure to launch operation
mercenary army, which is paid by Washington for its operations in Pak-Afghan
volatile border areas, remains under intense US pressure to launch an operation
in Northern Waziristan. In a move to increase pressure on Pakistan, last week President
Barack Obama signed into law a congressional bill requiring the administration
to declare the Haqqani network a foreign terrorist organization. Once a group
is placed on the State Department's FTO list, all US allies are also required
to join the fight against the designated group. A failure to do so allows the
US administration to declare that country a "state sponsor of terrorism." The
Haqqani network, accused of carrying out a number of attacks against American
interests in Afghanistan, is understood to be based in Northern Waziristan.
launched an operation in Northern Waziristan in 2004 that ended in a peace deal
with the tribal militants after two years of fierce fighting. In October 2009,
the army launched Rah-i-Nijat military operation in Mehsud area of South
Waziristan. But three years later officials said this month that out of six
sub-divisions declared as conflict zone only one subdivision was cleared and
the internally displaced persons from the area are allowed to go back to their
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