ISLAMABAD: Hours after a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base in Kamra was attacked, Defence Minister Naveed Qamar said that the death toll of the militants and the minimal damage caused to the base is clear proof of the preparedness of the forces.
The attack by militants on the PAF airbase and operation by security forces lasted for over four hours in which at least eight militants and one security official were killed. The base was attacked during the early hours of Thursday.
Speaking to the media in Islamabad, Qamar said, “The security of the air force was alert to retaliate in case of a possible attack and they did. We challenged the militants on different parameters, in which one of our soldiers who was posted at the security tower was martyred.”
“They had suicide vests clasped around them and were carrying heavy weaponry. They had attacked the base with an intention of having a do or die battle. However, with minimum damage caused to the base – with only one plane destroyed – the security forces were able to eliminate the terrorists.”
The defence minister said that the actual number of militants involved in the attack can only be ascertained once the inquiry is concluded.
When asked whether the attack was a result of an intelligence failure, he said that such attacks could only be defended to a certain extent and that the base is located in an urban residential area which always poses a threat of a possible infiltration.
Responding to a question regarding moving the complex away from the residential area, Qamar said it is not easy to move such big complexes that are built with massive investments. However, he said that the idea of sifting the complex will be reviewed.
The base is home to the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex that assembles Mirage and, with Chinese support, JF-17 fighter jets. It has previously come under attack twice, once in 2007 and then in 2009.
Qamar revealed that no arrests were made.
When asked about the security steps taken after Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had threatened to attack military bases, he said, “Everyone did what they were supposed to do. The security forces challenged the militants and eliminated them. These are actually what you call security steps.”
Disengage from war on terror: Imran Khan
Putting the blame of an early morning attack on a PAF airbase in Kamra on the army fighting war on terror for United States, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan said that Pakistan needs to disengage itself from the war and then should consider launching military offensives.
Speaking to the media at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Khan said that every now and then, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta gives statements and it appears as if the Pakistan Army is “deaf and dumb.”
“People will say that it is a rented army and we take money from the US to fight their wars.”
He said that a military offensive carried out in North Waziristan will have its implications on Pakistan, including a rise in terror attacks and will threaten the national security.
Expressing grief over the attack, Khan said that the civilian government should take responsibility of a democratic government and if it cannot do so, then it should hold elections. “The government proclaims that it is a democratic government, however, it refuses to take responsibility of the situation in Balochistan and FATA.”
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