KARACHI: Pakistan on Monday regained control of a naval base in the country’s biggest city, 17 hours after heavily armed Taliban gunmen attacked, destroying two US-made surveillance planes and killing 10 personnel.
It was the worst assault on a military base since the army headquarters was besieged in October 2009, piling further embarrassment on the armed forces three weeks after Osama bin Laden was found living under their noses.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said four to six militants used ladders to climb into the naval air base in the teeming port city of Karachi under the cover of night late Sunday, triggering gunbattles and a series of explosions.
Officials said 11 Chinese and six American maintenance contractors were evacuated safely during the attack, but it took 17 hours before the navy confirmed that the attack on the PNS (Pakistan Naval Ship) Mehran was over.
“We have cleared the base. The operation has been completed and the base is now under our control,” Commodore Irfan ul Haq told AFP.
Malik said the “terrorists” sneaked into the base from three points adjacent to residential areas in the city of 16 million people, whose port is a vital hub for Nato supplies bound for Afghanistan. Readmore