The Taliban have been quick to claim the assault on Pakistani Naval Station Mehran in Karachi. Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan has contacted several news organizations and claimed that 22 well-equipped fighters executed the assault. From Geo News/AFP:
“We claim responsibility for this attack in Karachi,” Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan told foreign news agency by telephone from an undisclosed location.
“We had already warned after Osama’s (bin Laden) martyrdom that we will carry out even bigger attacks,” he added.
And from Dawn/Reuters:
“It was the revenge of martyrdom of Osama bin Laden. It was the proof that we are still united and powerful,” Ihsanullah Ihsan told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.
Ehsan said that the team of militants they sent into Karachi’s PNS Mehran naval base night had enough supplies to survive a three-day siege.
“They have enough ammunition and food and they can fight and survive for three days,” he added.
Ihsan’s statement, that “we are still united,” is particularly interesting. Is he saying that the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, the umbrella Taliban group in the northwest , is still united? Or is he referring to the wider jihadist movement in Pakistan – al Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami (HUJI), and other groups?
Given the nature of the attack – a complex, coordinated assault on a high-security installation, and the location, in Karachi, the likelihood is that this was a joint operation between the Taliban and allied terrorist groups. Brigade 313, the unit commanded by al Qaeda and HUJI leader Ilyas Kashmiri, very likely has a role in this attack. Kashmiri was instrumental in executing two similar attacks: the October 2009 assault on the Pakistani Army’s General Headquarters complex in Rawalpindi; and the November 2010 assault on a police headquarters in Karachi. The Taliban initially took credit for both attacks, but Kashmiri and Brigade 313 were later discovered to have been involved in the planning and execution. Yesterday’s operation at the Karachi naval base has Kashmiri’s signature all over it.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.