Pakistani Taliban claim assault on Karachi naval base

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.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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7 Comments

  • John says:

    I always wonder when it is said that Taliban spokesman speaks to news agencies by telephone: isn’t it easy to intercept their phone conversations and then find them ?

  • Villiger says:

    “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?”
    Let’s be REAL–there is NO ACTUAL DIFFERENCE between AQ and the Taliban. Further, even if there are differences between the good Afghan Taliban and the bad Pakistan Taliban, AQ is the glue. Taking over Pakistan (whatever that means), militarily and politically, is a CLEAR OBJECTIVE of AQ. And i think what this guy is saying, that despite OBL gone, they are united.
    Even if the good Afghan Taliban won’t attack Pakistan, AQ clearly provides every kind of support reqd by the Pak taliban. And the Pak Taliban takes directions from AQ too. (One clear eg of that is the low profile that Haki Mehsud suddenly decided to adopt one day. The guy had loved to see and hear himself spout, but i think at some time after Times Sq?, he was advised by the leadership (read OBL) to keep his mouth shut, even when there was speculation that he had died three times.)
    This is a joint operation. It may well have been lead by 313 but, everyone pitched in to help make it a success, sad as it is but then the Pak establishment has invited this upon itself.
    This is os obvious to the rest of the world, but not the Pakistanis.
    Wake up Pakistan, you are not caught between a rock and a hard place. YOU ARE A HARD PLACE…. why do you choose to live like that?
    Get your military under civilian control, let them drive the policies on the basis of which you elect them and keep the Army in its place.
    And quit that chip-on-the-shoulder you have about India. If anything, Pakistan should have been prospering as India’s neighbour.

  • M.AKRAM says:

    “Pakistan and USA fighting a war of India and Israel against Islamist Fighters.”.
    Main root cause of this war is the occupation of Palestine by Israel and Kashmir by India.and both these occupants are very proactive in terming terrorism to freedom struggle of people of these areas.Most of Pakistani soldiers are muslims therefore it is simply impossible for them to fight against their own people.In 1971 Pakistan was forced to fight against its own province, now same conspiracy is going on, and conspiracy of Bhutto and Yahya is being repeated by Zardari and Kayani.
    M.AKRAM

  • sanman says:

    A Pakistani talkshow discusses the aftermath of the attacks:



    The host is obviously determined to blame foreign govts.

  • wallbangr says:

    Wow, what a black eye for the pak military. 22 taliban break in, kill 10 naval personnel, absorb only 4 casualties themselves, destroy two aircraft, heavily damage others and basically hold the base for several hours and then manage to escape. Ouch. Well that’s what you get for playing the double game.
    As to Ilyas’ involvement, now would be a good time for some bold action, seeing as how he is seemingly on the short list as potential successor to UBL. Since they cannot have a shura council to appoint one officially, bold and decisive action like this is the kind of thing that places him higher on the list.
    @ M. Akram: Huh? “Most of Pakistani soldiers are muslims therefore it is simply impossible for them to fight against their own people.” Right, because muslims abhor the killing of other muslims. Tell that to Benazir Bhutto. And the thousands of other muslim pakistanis who have been wiped out by the fanatics. As long as there is some conspiracy theory to pin this on (Israel/India/US), nobody has to take the hard look in the mirror and ask what the blind faith in a repressive and brutal religion and in a dysfunctional state are doing to compound the problem.

  • Charu says:

    @sanman, many thanks for the chuckle. The Pakistani media are so delusional that it is stupefying to watch. Quatrina? You’ve got to be kidding me! As for the retired Admiral in love with the sound of his voice and the “analyst” hallucinating on his conspiracies, it made for good comedy. The only sane voice in the mix kept having to roll his eyes at the nonsense being spouted. And this was all in English, meant obviously for the Pakistani elite. You can imagine the depths of insanity being plunged in the Urdu media!
    One comment from the “analyst” underscored a curious Pakistani view of their high-tech weaponry. He remarked that it didn’t matter in the larger context that 2 of their Orions were destroyed, because the Americans and the Chinese would just replace them for Pakistan! When the Pakistanis never have to pay for any of the toys given to them, they have no sense of their cost and instead develop a warped sense of entitlement.

  • villiger says:

    M Akram,
    “conspiracy of Bhutto and Yahya is being repeated by Zardari and Kayani.”
    I hope you’re right in your prophecy!

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