A file picture of Pakistani soldiers attending the burial of a colleague, killed in Laki Marwat, Pakistan, 04 May 2019. EFE-EPA/FILE/NOMAN KHAN

Militants attack Pakistani air base, nine killed

Peshawar, Pakistan, Nov 4 (EFE).- At least nine militants were killed after a group of heavily armed men tried to storm into an air force training base in Pakistan on Saturday, damaging three already grounded aircraft.

The media wing of the Pakistan army said in a press statement that the Mianwali training base in the eastern Punjab province came under attack in the early hours of the day.

After hours of combing and clearance operations, the statement said “all nine terrorists” were killed.

“(A) successful operation was launched by security forces to eliminate any potential threat in the surrounding area following the cowardly and failed terrorist attack on the base,” the Pakistan Army said.

The statement said “no damage” was done to any of the functional operational assets of the Pakistan Air Force.

“Only some damage was done to three already phased-out non-operational aircraft during the attack,” said the statement.

“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 statement did not specify any casualties among security forces.

The air base attack is the latest in a series of militant attacks that have rocked Pakistan since the beginning of the year.

On Friday, nearly 20 people, including 14 soldiers, were killed in two separate attacks in the volatile Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.

Pakistan has witnessed a surge in militancy-related incidents following the fall of Kabul to the Afghan Taliban in 2021.

Islamabad has accused the Afghan Taliban of providing “safe havens” to the TTP leadership and fighters on their soil.

The Afghan Taliban has denied the charges.

The Pakistani Taliban and separatist groups in the southern Balochistan province have escalated their activities against the security forces.

At least four people died while 11 sustained injuries in an attack on a police convoy on Apr. 10 in a Quetta market of western Pakistan.

The situation has deteriorated further since December last year, when the Pakistani Taliban announced the end of a ceasefire reached a month earlier with the government in Islamabad, accusing it of failing to uphold its commitments in peace negotiations.

January was the deadliest month in terms of insurgency since July 2018, with at least 134 dead and 254 injured in 44 attacks, according to Pakistan’s Institute of Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS). EFE