Chaos at Karachi Airport
Two attacks within the space of two days was the unfortunate reality which Pakistan’s Karachi Airport found itself facing earlier this week after Taliban forces targeted the site.
Insurgents claimed responsibility for the attacks on Sunday 8th June at the main Jinnah International Airport which resulted in more than 30 people being killed, and 48 hours later at the nearby security academy, which saw no casualties.
On Sunday, an all-night siege by Taliban gunmen had shut down Pakistan’s busiest airport as ten militants, disguised as security force members and armed with rocket-propelled grenades stormed the airport.
Although they did not achieve their target of seizing an aircraft, nor did they make it to the main building where most passengers were waiting, 34 people were still killed.
“We accept responsibility for another successful attack against the government,” Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told Reuters. “We are successfully achieving all our targets and we will go on carrying on many more such attacks.”
On Tuesday, a group of gunmen on motorbikes opened fire on an academy run by the Airports Security Force (ASF) yet fled after security forces retaliated.
Between two and four gunmen are believed to have been seen heading towards the base on motorbikes, firing their weapons near the airport of Pakistan’s commercial capital.
Unlike Sunday’s shootings, there were no recorded casualties for this most recent attack.
“The shooting came from a nearby shanty settlement towards the ASF,” said a senior police officer. “Police are launching a search operation now.”
Karachi airport briefly suspended all flights in and out of the sprawling city of 18 million, an official said, but most flights were restored by 1030 BST.
Sri Lankan Airlines cancelled a Karachi-bound flight with 207 passengers on-board after the latest attack.
Earlier on Tuesday morning, Pakistani fighter jets bombed Taliban positions on the Afghan border. It was unclear if the air strikes were part of a broader, planned offensive or retaliation to the weekend’s airport attack.