Taliban 'takes revenge' for bin Laden raid

2011-05-23 07:29

Karachi - Islamist militants stormed a naval base in the Pakistani city of Karachi late on Sunday, destroying two US-supplied surveillance aircraft, firing rockets and battling commandos sent to subdue them in one of the most brazen attacks in years, officials said.

At least four navy personnel and a paramilitary ranger were killed and 11 security forces were wounded in fighting at the Naval Station Mehran that was still ongoing on Monday morning, navy spokesperson Irfan ul Haq said.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was part of their revenge for the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

It was unclear how many militants were killed or wounded. Between 10 and 15 attackers entered the high-security facility before splitting into smaller groups, setting off explosions and hiding in the sprawling facility, Haq said.

The militants attacked the base from three sides and had control of one building as of Monday morning, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said. Navy helicopters were flying over the base in search of the attackers.

"Because of the presence of several assets on the base, the operation is being carried out in a cautious, smart way," Haq said, referring to military aircraft. "That's why it's taking so long."

Bin Laden raid

The co-ordinated strike rocked the country's largest city just under three weeks after the May 2 death of bin Laden in a US Navy Seals raid in the northwest garrison city of Abbottabad, an event al-Qaeda-allied extremists in Pakistan have vowed to avenge.

The unilateral American raid triggered a strong backlash against Washington, which is trying to support Pakistan in its fight against militants, as well as rare domestic criticism against the armed forces for failing to detect or prevent the operation.

The fact that militants were able to enter one of the country's largest military bases is another embarrassing blow to the Pakistani army and will raise questions over whether the attackers had inside information. That they targeted US-supplied aircraft draws attention to American aid to the military, something generals here do not talk about, fearing criticism from the county's fiercely anti-American population.

After heavy American prodding, security forces launched several operations against militants in their heartland close to the border with Afghanistan over the last three years. The extremists have struck back against police and army targets around the country.

In claiming responsibility, Pakistani Taliban spokesperson Ahsanullah Ahsan said the attack was part of their planned response to the death of the al-Qaeda chief, and that Pakistan is the top target.

The militant group hates the Pakistani government because of its alliance with the US. This is the third major attack it has claimed since the bin Laden killing, including a car bombing that slightly injured American consulate workers in the northwest city of Peshawar and a twin-suicide attack that killed around 90 Pakistani paramilitary police recruits.

'Cowardly act of terror'

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the attack, saying such a "cowardly act of terror could not deter the commitment of the government and people of Pakistan to fight terrorism."

Sunday's raid appeared to be the most serious against the military since October 2009, when militants attacked the army headquarters close to the capital, Islamabad. They held dozens hostage in a 22-hour standoff that left 23 people dead, including nine militants.

The raid began with at least three loud explosions, which were heard by people who live around the naval air station. It was unclear what caused the explosions, but they set off raging fires that could be seen from far in the distance.

An Associated Press reporting team outside the base heard at least six other explosions and sporadic gunfire.

Authorities sent in several dozen navy and police commandos to battle the attackers, who responded with gunfire and grenades, said Salman Ali, another navy spokesperson. At least two P-3C Orions, maritime surveillance aircraft given to Pakistan by the US, were destroyed, he said.

The United States handed over two Orions to the Pakistani navy at a ceremony at the base in June 2010 attended by 250 Pakistani and American officials, according to the website of the US Central Command. It said by late 2012, Pakistan would have eight of the planes.

At least one media report said a team of American technicians were working on the aircraft at the time of the strike, but US Embassy spokesperson Alberto Rodriguez said no Americans were on the base. Ali also stated there were no foreigners inside the base.

Karachi, a city of around 18 million people, has not been spared the violence sweeping the country, despite being in the south far from the northwest where militancy is at its strongest. In April, militants bombed three buses taking navy employees to work, killing at least nine people.

The Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups have little direct public support, but the army and the government have struggled to convince the people of the need for armed operations against them. The militants' identification with Islam, strong anti-American rhetoric and support for insurgents in Afghanistan resonates with some in the country.

  • Umar Adil - 2011-05-23 07:46

    Agreed this is a sequel to the The Death of Laden, Now they will say that terrorists have stolen nukes, then they will attack on london or USA. Blame will be on Pakistan.

      Peacock - 2011-05-23 08:25

      No. They will blame the West

  • hindu_k - 2011-05-23 07:51

    U tink the Americans really care if they kill the paki's? Please...

      Peacock - 2011-05-23 08:23

      @ hindu_k. Look beyound your as* hole . The Western hemispere gets all sorts of Sh*t when a civilian is killed, investigations are made, people are made an example of and punished for this " atrocity". But what happens when the muslim extremists kill civilians by the the dozen????? Nothing happens except that the west is blamed AGAIN.

      hindu_k - 2011-05-23 09:21

      Im just saying that they are killing their own people. the paki's were hiding him in pakistan, the gov said that they had nothing to do with the killng of bin ladin,yet they're taking revenge out on their own kind. Doesnt make sense...

  • Notuagain - 2011-05-23 07:56

    ...and the the Americans take revenge for the revenge...and then the Taliban takes revenge for the revenge for the revenge... Sickening how innocent people are caught up in the middle of this...

      slg - 2011-05-23 15:37

      The US is not taking revenge. Al-Quaida and the Taliban have declared war on everyone who does not practice their way of life. They have followed this up with attacks that have killed tens of thousands of people the world over. What do you suggest be done?

  • clifford peter viljoen - 2011-05-23 08:06

    The Tali me banana are like a bunch of school kids, tit for tat ,seems that some adults will never grow up.

      mufasa - 2011-05-23 08:33

      @Clifford Peter Viljoen hahaha yes somewhat but most people miss the bigger picture. Al Qaeda leaders/generals are stationed in Libya/Yemen/Syria the countries with "internal" conflict, these are also the countries with large oil and gas reserves. Again it will be a war for control of natural resources and economic power. As long as these countries are at war oil prices rocket and US smiles all the way to the bank. Its part of the monopoly game or other wise known as the flawed money based economy. Events like this will happen until one of two things happen: 1) natural resources are depleted 2) humanity moves away from money based economy, politics, religion towards science , technology and nature.... But unfortunately this will be hard to obtain due to the saying: "absolute power corrupts absolutely"

      clifford peter viljoen - 2011-05-23 08:51

      @Mufasa: True, lets hope that common sense will prevail at some point in time .

      ANC Ancestor - 2011-05-23 09:02

      @mufasa your Etopia doesn't and will never exist. Maybe only in heaven. These wars does not benefit the US in any way,other than the fact that it's better for them to fight it in the middle east than their own soil. As you probably know they have crippling national debt, and as you also know, these wars are extremely expensive (the US has spent more than 1.6 trillion dollars on the Iraqi war alone). Every body bag that comes home are also bad for the American public and the Presidency. Being a superpower and also the policeman of the world means that you have a lot of enemies around the world that seeks to destroy your country. Surely they must put the safety of their country and people first, and use the best possible strategies to defend themselves.

      Ingwe - 2011-05-23 09:20

      @Mufasa, Yemen rates 29th in world oil product/reserves, Syria rates 32nd in world oil product/reserves, hardly large oil reserves.

      mufasa - 2011-05-23 09:32

      @ANCestor Yes the US has Debt, but where do they make their debt? from the FEDeral Reserve Bank owned by a private organization which does not comply with any of US or international laws... it is them I am referring to, (they are owned by top US peeps as well as the major oil companies. please try and keep up. @ Ingwe If they are not so large then why do we have price hikes in petrol and oil due to their war? FFS if you wana comment on my comment at least have an open mind and see beyond the propaganda and statistics you are fed by governments around the world...

      mufasa - 2011-05-23 09:44

      @ Ingwe another thing, do yourself a favor and find out which countries buys from Libya, and now ask yourself the question where do they buy from now?

      slg - 2011-05-28 07:34

      Geepers Mufasa, you're seriously confused. Oil prices go up and the US smiles all the way to the bank? It's the opposite. Oil prices go up and recession beckons. The Federal Reserve owned by a private organization? You've obviously Googles the wrong bank. Funny. The Federal Reserve is the reserve bank of the US government. It is not privately owned. Good God, what are you thinking, and you're telling others to keep up. Oil goes up because of uncertainty in the Middle East, not because of Yemen or Syria who are small players in the oil supply chain. Seriously, you have no idea what is really going on.

  • MacDaKnife - 2011-05-23 08:07

    Will this ever stop. Well thanks to the Americans

      slg - 2011-05-23 15:38

      Simple thinking, and untrue

      slg - 2011-05-28 07:40

      This is so weird and confused. The Taliban kill Pakistani naval officers and you blame America. What are you thinking?! Turn the TV the other way around. You're watching upside down.

  • mufasa - 2011-05-23 08:17

    War = money, the biggest beneficiary, US. Its as simple a that.

      Six - 2011-05-23 08:36

      EXACTLY ... as with anything ... follow the money. Now we just need another billion odd people to open their eyes.

      The All Seeing Eye - 2011-05-23 09:19

      War is a good excuse as any other for companies/corrupt officials to get there grubby hands on tax payers money.

      Neutedop - 2011-05-23 10:56

      So America made money out of a coward's attack on 9/11? If someone killed 3000 odd South African - you would sit back and want no-one to do anything? And you're simple fact - please explain how America benefit from war? Guns etc yes, but the cost of paying a troop a salary, logistics etc? Do you really believe they make money out of it? Do you have a ideas what all the above cost? And go search where the minerals for the guns, jets ect comes from - not America.

      slg - 2011-05-23 15:39

      More simple thinking

      slg - 2011-05-28 07:42

      Mufasa = blogging = made-up reality

  • Lekabisto - 2011-05-23 08:17

    Their leader was killed and all they do is bomb a Naval base of that country in their own back yard??? damnit I thougt these guys were more bad ass than that, bunch of wankers!

  • alessandroz067 - 2011-05-23 08:33

    Did they leave a note saying: "It was us, the Taliban and this is revenge"? Or did they also go through the trouble of making a tape for usa? I guess that's reason enough to engage in war with Pakistan? WTF?

      The Spear - 2011-05-23 08:45

      read the article before making stupid comments. Quote "...Pakistani Taliban spokesperson Ahsanullah Ahsan said the attack was part of their planned response to the death of the al-Qaeda chief..."

      slg - 2011-05-23 15:40

      Do you still believe Bin Laden was not killed?

      slg - 2011-05-28 07:44

      Alessandro, do yourself and everyone here a favour and keep up with the news from reliable news sources. The Taliban publicly stated they were responsible for the attack. They love taking responsibility for these things. Do you just block the obvious out?

  • Bhubesi - 2011-05-23 08:40

    I often struggle with the modern day definition of terrorism... There is just too much grey area... Terrorist- freedom fighter, militant, insurgents, military, it all sounds like a bunch of murderers to me...

      Neutedop - 2011-05-23 10:58

      Well - the best quote for that is: One guys terrorist, is another guys freedom fighter. I class you as a terrorist if you kill innocent people, and unarmed people on a daily these guys did.

  • preshengovender69 - 2011-05-23 08:53

  • Margaret Gould - 2011-05-23 08:59

    What does the USA think when they go into other countries and attack with impunity? Violence begets violence. "The war on Terror" is a phrase coined by the evil bush, and the rest of the world has to pay . The USA makes billions out of war, hence we have wars.

      Noitol - 2011-05-23 09:27

      You are so right! If the violence that razed the World Trade Centre to the ground had never happened, the Americans would have stayed at home and the world would have been at peace. (Comparatively speaking of course!)

      Neutedop - 2011-05-23 10:59

      Once again - please explain your statement: How do they make millions? Or have you read 1 article somewhere - and now that is how it is? I hate it when people can'nt think for themselves - seems like a sickness these days. I will stand correct if you can give me proof how they profit.

      slg - 2011-05-23 15:40

      Even more simple thinking. Have you even bothered to look into what is actually going on?

  • Jack Monch - 2011-05-23 09:00

    The war has began. Nothing will stop this and innocent life will be lost. *sorrowed.

      The All Seeing Eye - 2011-05-23 09:21

      Drama queen

  • Noitol - 2011-05-23 09:20

    Something seems wrong here. These Muslim extremists love telling the West that "you love life -- that is your weakness. We love death -- that is our strength!" Seems to me they should grateful, rather than exacting revenge. The Yanks were only giving Osama what he wanted.

      slg - 2011-05-23 15:41

      Yes, Bin Laden lived hi sown destiny, his desire.

  • Drewster - 2011-05-23 09:30

    Revenge Bin Ladens death by killing Muslims. Now that makes a lot of sense.

  • USAMAH - 2011-05-23 09:33

    And they told us that killing Bin Laden was going to make the world a safer place ???? It would have been better if Bush had had some forsight and accepted the Taliban offer to hand Bin Laden over ( providing, of course , he could provide them with proof that BL was behind the WTC implosion). The world would have been saved from a TEN YEAR war which doesn't seem like a it's - going - to - end - soon - war. By the way WHAT PROOF DID BUSH SHOW THE WORLD THAT BIN LADEN WAS BEHIND THE WTC ( Apart from the few indestructable Arab passports that were found) ?? And why didn't they rebuild the WTC with the same indestructable material that Arab passports are made of ??

      alessandroz067 - 2011-05-23 09:56

      Lol... well said!

      alessandroz067 - 2011-05-23 10:19

      You forgot to mention the indesstructable notebooks that were found next to the passports with the detailed plans (drawings included) of the 911 incident. Almost like a step-by-step terrorist

      slg - 2011-05-23 15:44

      Dangerously wrong, both of you. You're on the side of Al-Quaida and the Taliban. Geez, how wrong can you be. It's like arguing for the Nazi's and Soviets. Thankfully, as has been said to you before, the freer world will save your asses from being blown up.

  • krishna - 2011-05-23 10:10

    RAW (research and analysis wing) of India is behind this. They are hell bent on destroying Pakistan.

      slg - 2011-05-23 15:44


  • devilears - 2011-05-23 10:18

    So the US attack on the Bin Laden compound was a "clever" and "heroic" act, whilst the Taliban attack is being branded as "a cowardly act of terror"? I don't get it?

      Grunk - 2011-05-23 14:50

      Of course all Taliban attacks are cowardly - it's not difficult to go up against an Army or Navy base or armed convoys because obviously all the guards are asleep and you know full well that the weapons the enemy are carrying probably are not loaded because you are in a war zone. Totally the opposite to killing an unarmed man you've just woken up - anybody knows that one's conscience always prevents someone doing that. The bloke you are after always gets a chance to go for his gun. You've seen that in movie after movie. Sorry, somewhere along the line I've got the story wrong ....

      slg - 2011-05-23 15:45

      Because the US attack was targeted at Bin Laden. Al-Quaida and the Taliban target civilians. This is cowardly because civilians can't fight back.

  • Francis - 2011-05-23 19:13

    Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing, where have all the flowers gone, gone to soldiers every one, when will they ever learn, when will they ever learn.......sigh!

  • Snoopy88 - 2011-05-23 20:49

    I don't get it.. the Americans finally get Bin Laden because let's face it that's been their primary aim all along... and they retaliate by bombing and shooting their OWN people!?! To me it looks like going without sex makes you bonkers! go out get laid, have a spliff.. chill!

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