Pakistan repels second Taliban assault on Karachi airport

Updated: 2014-06-11 07:17

By Agence France-Presse in Karachi (China Daily)

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Taliban gunmen attacked a security post outside Pakistan's Karachi airport on Tuesday, a day after an all-night siege by the militants left 37 dead and shredded a tentative peace process.

The latest assault on the airport raised further questions about the authorities' ability to secure key facilities in the face of a resurgent enemy, and came as air force jets pounded suspected militant hideouts in the northwest, killing 25 people.

The attack on the security post targeted an entry point to an Airport Security Force camp 500 meters from the airport's main premises, and about a kilometer from the passenger terminal.

Police, paramilitary rangers and army soldiers all raced to the site, but officials reported there had been no casualties and they had not traded fire with the militants.

"Two people came toward the ASF checkpost and started firing," Colonel Tahir Ali, a spokesman for the force, told reporters. "Nobody has been killed or injured," he added.

Army spokesman Major General Asim Bajwa confirmed the incident was over, but said three or four assailants were involved.

Flights resumed after temporarily being suspended for the second time in as many days, said Abid Qaimkhani, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority.

A senior ranger official at the scene who wished to remain anonymous said the gunmen may have fled to a nearby shanty settlement.

The Taliban later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in response to airstrikes in the tribal areas.

"Today's attack on ASF in Karachi is in response to the bombardment of innocent people in Tirah Valley and other tribal areas. We will continue such attacks," spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said, referring to Pakistani airstrikes against suspected militant hideouts.

Pakistan entered into talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in February and agreed upon a cease-fire in March, which broke down a month later. Many observers believe the peace process is dead and that the government must now take more strident measures, including attacking the Taliban's North Waziristan stronghold.