The Taliban successfully attacked Karachi Naval Base, one of Pakistan’s most well-guarded and secure military installations late yesterday, killing at least 12 people and injuring 14 others.Varied reports are still coming in, but according to India’s NDTV, the siege lasted more than 15 hours and was carried out by up to 15 terrorists.
The men attacked late Sunday through the Pakistan Air Force Museum located within the base as staff were preparing to go home. Witnesses say they heard 20 large explosions, followed by about 20 minutes of of heavy weapons firing.
The attack specifically targeted a fleet of Lockheed P-3 Orion’s sold to Pakistan by the United States. The planes run about $36 million apiece, and at least two were totally destroyed by rocket propelled grenades during the assault.
Initial reports that a team of American technicians were at work on the aircraft at the time of the attack was refuted by US Embassy spokesman Alberto Rodriguez.
The Economic Times reports that several Chinese military personnel were taken hostage, and that their fate remains unknown.
The high-security area where the attack occurred also houses Pakistan Air Force’s Southern Air Command, Air War College, as well as the museum.
At one point the terrorists holed themselves up in a building behind human shields while fighting back the commandos that were deployed against them.
It is believed the strike on the P-3s was meant to highlight America’s military presence and contribution to Pakistan’s forces, something leaders in the country rarely talk about. The assault is yet another humiliation to Pakistan’s army and will raise questions about whether the attackers had inside information.