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Sunday, November 27 2022
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Taliban attacks Pakistan Air Force base, 17 killed

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Islamabad: At least 17 people, including 13 terrorists, and an army captain were killed when Taliban militants in northwestern Pakistan attacked a base of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on the outskirts of Peshawar early Friday.Thirteen of the militants and Pakistan Army’s Captain Asfandyar were killed  in the attack, army spokesman Maj. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa said.

The assault on the Badaber air base came as the army has been carrying out a major operation against local and foreign militants in North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan. Terrorists entered the camp at two points, splitting into sub-groups. The encounter began immediately due to the quick response from security forces, Bajwa said.

The attackers stormed the guard room of the base, but the attack was quickly repulsed. Security forces were engaged in clearing up operations and were searching for militants who might be hiding in the area. TV footage showed army helicopters hovering near the base, as police and troops surrounded the area. Local police officer Shahid Khan Bangash said a large explosion was heard after the “terrorists” tried to enter the air force base.

“We are hearing that the attackers were armed with guns and rockets,” he said. The attackers threw grenades at the guard room but they could not enter the main area. He said the firing had stopped but a search operation was still under way. He did not say how many attackers were involved. A spokesman for the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Mohamad Khurasani, claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement released to the media, he said they would provide details about the attackers shortly. The Badaber air base, located on the edge of Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, was not functional and it was mostly being used as a residential place for the employees and officers of the air force. The base was established in 1960s.

The attack came a day after a counter-terrorism officer Junaid Khan in Karachi said they had arrested a militant who recently made a failed attempt to target an air force facility in Kamra in the northwest. He identified the arrested person as Umar Hayat and said officers were still questioning him.

On Aug 16, 2012 militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons had carried out a brazen attack on the Minhas base of the PAF at Kamra. The TTP had claimed responsibility for the assault on Kamra air base, Dawn reports.

Peshawar suffered the worst terror attack in Pakistani history in December 2014 when TTP gunmen massacred more than 150 people, most of them children, at an army-run school. But recently, there has been a lull in violence. The last deadly attack in the city came in February when three heavily armed Taliban militants stormed a Shia mosque, killing 21 people.

Military operation Zarb-i-Azb was launched against insurgent hideouts in North Waziristan on June 15 following a brazen militant attack on Karachi’s international airport and the failure of peace talks between the government and TTP negotiators.

Officials say nearly 3,000 militants have been killed since the launch of the latest offensive

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