Karachi airport attacks: Second assault in two days raises serious security questions

 

Asia Correspondent

Barely a day after militants laid siege to Karachi airport in an attack that left more than 35 people dead, gunmen launched a new assault on the facility in an assault that raised fresh questions about the country’s ability to confront the Taliban

The Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack on a base operated by Pakistan’s Airport Security Force (ASF) located close to Jinnah International Airport around lunchtime on Tuesday morning. A group of gunmen on motorbikes opened fire on the academy and sped off when security forces retaliated. No-one was hurt.

The attack came just 24 hours after security forces announced an all-clear at the airport, Pakistan’s largest, following an assault by 10 militants armed with grenades and automatic weapons The attack, launched around midnight on Sunday, left a total of 36 people dead, including all the militants.

“We accept responsibility for another successful attack against the government,” Pakistan Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told the Reuters news agency. “We are successfully achieving all our targets and we will go on carrying on many more such attacks.”

Pakistani mourners at a funeral for a victim (Getty) Pakistani mourners at a funeral for a victim (Getty)

Reports said the militants who attacked on Sunday night were well equipped and well trained and apparently planning for a long operation. Some of the fighters may have been foreigners, officials said.

A spokesperson for the Taliban later said the attack had been carried out in revenge for a US drone attack last year that killed the Taliban’s then-leader, Hakimullah Mehsud. He said they had wanted to hijack a plane.

The two attacks raise major problems for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose government has been involved in faltering efforts to broker a ceasefire as part of a broader regional settlement. Last month, there was a split in the ranks of the Taliban and there has been speculation that the attacks were intended to show the enduring ability of the main faction to still strike high-value targets at will.

On Tuesday morning it was reported that seven bodies have been recovered from a burned building at the airport, bringing the death toll from Monday’s attack to 36. Reports said the bodies, burned beyond recognition, had been found in a cold storage unit. It is unclear how they ended up there.

The attack forced the suspension of all flights to and from the airport but by Tuesday afternoon it was running as usual.

Pakistani Rangers are pictured in the fire-damaged premises of a cold-storage facility that was engulfed in flames during a brazen Taliban attack (Getty) Pakistani Rangers are pictured in the fire-damaged premises of a cold-storage facility that was engulfed in flames during a brazen Taliban attack (Getty)
Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning it was also reported that Pakistan’s air force launched air strikes in tribal areas on the Afghan border, killing at least 15 suspected militants.

“Nine terrorist hideouts were destroyed by early morning military air strikes near the Pakistan-Afghan border,” the army said in a statement.

The latest attack targeting Karachi airport came as Pakistan’s interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, was briefing the parliament on Monday’s assault. “Terrorists wanted to kidnap people and damage planes,” he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot