Karachi airport under control after Pakistani Taliban attack leaves at least 27 dead

Pakistani authorities reported Monday morning, June 9, that they have regained control of Karachi international airport after a battle from Sunday night until dawn with 10 heavily armed Pakistani Taliban terrorists disguised in military uniforms had left at least 27 people dead. The authorities reported that all ten attackers were dead, including three who blew themselves up, after shooting their way with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades into the VIP and cargo terminal and setting parts of the airport on fire.

Passengers were cleared and all flights suspended during the night-long siege. Shahidullah Shahid, a Taliban spokesman, said Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport was stormed in response to army attacks on their strongholds along the Afghan border. ”The main goal of this attack was to damage the government, including by hijacking planes and destroying state installations.”

Pakistan's paramilitary Rangers spokesman said that a “large cache of arms and ammunition has been recovered from the militants,” adding that the attackers were ethnic Uzbeks. debkafile reports that under investigation is a possible Al Qaeda element in the Talilban attack, by means of the Uzbek jihadist group known as Imam Bukhari Jamaat, which is fighting with Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front against the Assad regime in Syria.

By dawn Monday, the army said the airport had been secured, but heavy smoke still rose above the buildings. A sweep operation at the airport was expected to be completed by the end of the day. During the attack, the army closed all roads to Karachi, Pakistan’s sprawling capital of 18 million. Its seven-level international airport can handle 42 aircraft at a time and has 16 gates for an average annual traffic of 6 million passengers.

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