A group of fighters has targeted an air force training base in central Pakistan’s Mianwali area but troops foiled the attack, killing nine of the attackers, according to Pakistan’s military.
“Due to the swift and effective response by the troops, (the attack) has been foiled and thwarted, ensuring the safety and security of personnel and assets,” the military said in a statement, adding that three grounded aircraft and a fuel tanker have been damaged in the attack.
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Newly founded group called Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan (TJP), which has carried out a string of attacks in the country this year, claimed responsibility for Saturday morning’s attack in a statement sent to journalists by its spokesperson.
The country’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul-Haq Kakar praised the efforts of Pakistan’s air force in responding to the attack.
“Any attempt to undermine our security will meet with unwavering resistance,” he said on the social media platform X.
The valiant Pakistan Air Force has once again proven its mettle by thwarting a cowardly terrorist attack in Mianwali. Any attempt to undermine our security will meet with unwavering resistance. The nation stands with you and we salute your courage and resolve.
— Anwaar ul Haq Kakar (@anwaar_kakar) November 4, 2023
The attack comes a day after an ambush on a military convoy killed 14 soldiers in southwest Baluchistan province. Also on Friday, a bomb and gun attack on a vehicle carrying police killed three people and wounded more than 20.
Violence has risen in Pakistan this year, and it is primarily linked to the increased activity of armed groups like the TJP and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a banned group ideologically aligned with the Afghan Taliban.
The country is also grappling with political and economic crises, which have led to a general decline in law and order.
August saw a sharp rise in armed attacks with 99 incidents reported across the country, the highest number in any single month since November 2014, according to the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies.
The tribal regions of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan have served as a haven for armed groups for decades. But Pakistan’s army carried out massive operations against the groups along the Afghan border after an army-run school was attacked by fighters in 2014, killing more than 150 people, mostly children.
The tribal regions have also been converted into fully controlled districts in recent years, and Pakistan’s army announced it had cleared the region of local and foreign fighters. However, occasional attacks continue.
Meanwhile, the country is also set to hold its delayed national elections on February 8 as security crises mount.