Terrorists assault Pakistani Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi


A squad of terrorists launched a brazen assault on the Pakistani Army's General Headquarters, sparking an hour-long battle in the military garrison city of Rawalpindi. Pakistani troops repelled the assault; six soldiers and four terrorists were killed during the fighting.

The attack began as six terrorists wearing Army uniforms drove a white van up to the front gate of the headquarters but were stopped by the guards at the main checkpoint. The terrorists opened fire on the guards and threw hand grenades. The soldiers at the checkpoint killed four terrorists during the battle while losing six of their own. A brigadier general and a lieutenant colonel are among those killed.

The attack was confirmed by Major General Athar Abbas, the chief spokesman for the Pakistani military.

"All the four terrorists have been killed," Abbas told Geo News. "The fighting is over now. The situation is under control," Abbas said. But the battle is still ongoing.

Two of terrorists were first reported to have been captured during the fighting but the report was incorrect. The two fighters retreated to a nearby military office, which has been surrounded. The two terrorists may have been joined by additional fighters, and are said to be holding an estimated 10 to 15 hostages, including security officials and civil servants.

The identity of the attackers is not yet known, but both the Taliban and the Lashkar-e-Taiba have conducted military-styled assaults in Pakistan's major cities. The Taliban took credit for similar attacks in Islamabad, Peshawar, and Lahore. The Taliban have assaulted police stations and training centers in Lahore and Islamabad, ambushed the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, and assaulted the Continental Hotel in Peshawar.

Today's attack is the third major strike in Pakistan this week. On Oct. 5, a suicide bomber killed five UN workers in an attack at the World Food Program office in Islamabad. On Oct. 9, a suicide bomber killed 49 civilians in an attack at a bazaar in Peshawar.

The attacks are taking place as the government is threatening to launch an operation against the Taliban in Waziristan. But the military is only planning to take on the Taliban led by Hakeemullah and Waliur Rehman Mehsud. The Haqqani Network, Hafiz Gul Bahadar, and Mullah Nazir's forces are not going to be targeted.

Today's attack is not the first to take place outside the Army General Headquarters. On Nov. 23, 2007, two suicide bombers struck a post outside the military general headquarters and a bus carrying personnel working for the Inter Services Intelligence agency. Fifteen were killed and scores wounded in the November 2007 bombings.

Terror assaults on military targets in Pakistan's major cities in 2009:

October 10, 2009
Rawalpindi
Four soldiers were killed after a terrorist assault squad attempted to storm the Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

June 11, 2009
Peshawar
Hakeemullah Mehsud, the cousin of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, and a group called the Abdullah Azzam Brigade both claimed responsibility for the deadly attack that killed 17 people and destroyed a large section of the hotel.

May 27, 2009
Lahore
Twenty-three people, including police and officials from the Inter-Service Intelligence agency, were killed after an assault team opened fire on security personnel and stormed the ISI headquarters. During the attack, a truck laden with explosives was detonated in front of the police headquarters, leveling the building.

March 30, 2009
Lahore
The Taliban killed 34 police and recruits during a terrorist assault and eight-hour siege on a police training facility in the eastern city of Lahore.

March 3, 2009
Lahore
A terrorist strike team estimated at about 12 men ambushed the Sri Lankan cricket team as it traveled to a sports stadium in Lahore. Five policemen and two civilians were killed, and dozens were wounded, including some cricket officials.



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READER COMMENTS: "Terrorists assault Pakistani Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi"

Posted by KaneKaizer at October 10, 2009 3:34 AM ET:

Sounds like things didn't go according to plan. Must keep the Pakistani soldiers on edge when the enemy wears their uniform.

Posted by Marlin at October 10, 2009 8:20 AM ET:

It appears that the two terrorists not killed were able to stave off security forces for at least a while.

Two terrorists who escaped after attacking GHQ have taken refuge in a security office near second GHQ check post, ISPR said Saturday.

Security personnel have surrounded the office, ISPR added.

[...]

The security forces have also raided a house in Islamabad, about 4 to 5 kilometers away from GHQ, where the terrorists had been residing before launching today's attack, sources said.

Security forces have arrested the owner of the house where the terrorists had planned the attack, sources added. The terrorists were believed to have been residing in this house for the last three to four months, sources said.

Geo TV: Two fleeing terrorists under siege in Rawalpindi

Posted by Minnor at October 10, 2009 9:50 AM ET:

Okey, AP reports they are holding hostages inside. Whereabouts of Gen Kyani is not known, who had meeting there today! Anything can happen in land called Pakistan.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hkiMxbHNH0BqgpWA2ZG6VD6wVTmAD9B89DI00

Posted by pedestrian at October 10, 2009 10:32 AM ET:

Nuclear facilities in Pakistan may be next of Taliban's target while Obama fades away from having Taliban on its list to be eliminated in Afghan. When those nukes reach Taliban, don't be surprised to see it in the Al Qaida's hand the next day. Obama better keep Taliban on the list to eliminate or US will see Al Qaida with dirty bombs.

Posted by Spooky at October 10, 2009 10:48 AM ET:

Talk about going big time. Gotta wonder if they shot themselves in the foot doing that though. Probably not...

Posted by Marlin at October 10, 2009 11:55 AM ET:

The number of escaped terrorists has now increased and the number of hostages is substantial.

Army Spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said 4-5 militants were holed up in the security agency's building and they had taken 10-15 hostages. 'Efforts are under way for their safe recovery,' said the spokesman.

Dawn: Security personnel taken hostage at GHQ: army

Posted by Dean at October 10, 2009 2:03 PM ET:

It seems to me this is counter-productive. They attacked the core of the Pakistani army, its officer corps, and that army sees itself as too much of the backbone of the country to let the deed go unpunished. (At least I hope so).

Posted by Spooky at October 10, 2009 4:08 PM ET:

I have to wonder why the Taliban haven't claimed responsibility yet. Or any of the other affiliated groups. Even with the Mumbai Siege we had the "Deccan Mujahiddeen" claim responsibility as a front group of LeT within the first couple of hours.

Posted by KaneKaizer at October 10, 2009 6:13 PM ET:

I thought there would be a break after the Peshawar bombing.

It really is starting to seem like the Taliban realize the best hope they have of inflicting a serious and demoralizing defeat on the Pakistan Army is to provoke them into attacking right before the winter.

Posted by yash at October 11, 2009 3:35 AM ET:

the proper caption should be "Terrorists assault TERRORIST Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi"

PAK ARMY IS the father of most of these terrorist organisations. Even now they act against only those terrrists who attack Pak. If a terrorist is attacking Western interests or Indians they are very happy and provide full support

Posted by rina at October 11, 2009 10:58 AM ET:

Even with the Mumbai Siege we had the "Deccan Mujahiddeen"