Ten Taliban militants killed in attacks on Pakistan air force bases

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 August, 2014, 11:08pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 August, 2014, 11:08pm

Ten Taliban-linked militants were killed and 13 members of the Pakistani security forces were wounded in attacks on two air force bases in the strategic west Pakistan city of Quetta, officials said.

While the attackers did not get inside either facility, the raids on Thursday marked the third time since June that Pakistani airports had been targeted and will raise more questions about security at such facilities.

Pakistan's military has been fighting an offensive against the Taliban insurgency in the remote, largely lawless region of North Waziristan on the Afghanistan border since June. A wing of the Pakistani Taliban said they had carried out Thursday night's raids in response to that offensive.

"It is revenge for the army's killing of innocent people in North and South Waziristan," said Ghalib Mehsud, who said he was a commander and spokesman for the Fidayeen Islam, a Taliban wing responsible for training suicide bombers.

"There will be more attacks in coming days."

The military says hundreds of militants have been killed during the much-anticipated offensive, but residents say some civilians have also died in frequent air raids.

Access to North Waziristan is tightly controlled and it is impossible to verify the military's casualty figures.

Police said some of the attackers in Thursday night's raids were killed at the Samungli air force base, which shares a runway with the civilian airport in Quetta. The city has long been used as a base by the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban.

More were killed at Khalid air force base, said provincial Inspector General Muhammad Amlish. Khalid is to the north of Quetta.