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Attack on Kamra air base

August 18, 2012

WHILE there were intelligence reports that air bases are targets and that there might be an attack on Aug 27 or 28, security was on high alert. Yet the Karma air base was attacked.

The attackers were killed, yet the attack could not be prevented and the attackers penetrated the highest security zone and managed to damage one of the Air Force planes, thus leading to some serious questions about security which is to be addressed very seriously to avoid such incidents in future.

AMAN AHMAD                  Karachi

Some questions

THE security personnel at the PAF Base Minhas, Kamra, need to be applauded for effectively engaging the militants and killing eight of them.

The attack on the air force base at Kamra has raised a few questions: how were the militants able to infiltrate into the highly guarded air base and were able to engage security personnel inside the base for nearly four hours?

Why was the entire perimeter of the base not covered and monitored round the clock by the static and patrolling guards, thus enabling the intruders to scale 2.7-metre-high wall strung with barbed wire to break into the base from behind the base at around 2am? Why was the likely approach of the enemy from outside the base area around the base perimeter not guarded?

No attack on the well-protected military installations can be carried out unless attackers and their sponsors have full information about their targets. Attackers cannot infiltrate into the protected target as easily as they did at the Kamra airbase without having prior knowledge about the target and the route taken to reach the target.

The attackers must have had full reconnaissance of the air base, both inside as well as of the area surrounding the base, before launching the attack. For this, the use of paid agents planted inside the targets months before the attack cannot be ruled out.

The PAF must look into all possibilities when investigating this attack. It is suggested that services of PAF retired officers expert in security of air bases who have participated in both the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971 may be obtained to benefit the PAF from their valuable experience.


High vigilance

THE attack should be seen in the light of Gen Kayani's speech delivered to cadets at the PMA, Kakul, on Aug 14 where he used some harsh language against the militants and attacked their faith and declared such people as terrorists. Although he spoke the truth, we must be prepared to face retaliation.

After the attack on the Mehran base in May 2011 it was expected that security of military installations will be beefed up and made absolutely foolproof to thwart future attempts by terrorists. But the fact that terrorists struck again with precision leaves behind many questions.

We must admit that we are still very vulnerable on ground to acts of terrorism.

First, Kamra lays open from all directions, small boundary walls with concertina wires pose very little threat to a determined enemy. As a matter of SOP, all military installations have to be cordoned off at least by 1,000 metres defensive layer with preferably electric wires making it non-accessible to anybody. We become wiser after every such incident but fail to take adequate security measures. Court of inquiries held after each incident become meaningless when the areas are not properly secured and it will end up with recommendations to further tightening security measures.

We have to change our strategy on security and take pains in ensuring that terrorists do not succeed in breaking security cordons anywhere in Pakistan.

Take the case of major airports of Pakistan, any determined terrorist can penetrate at any time of the day and night in the airfields and cause maximum damage to installations.

Since we are at war within and war outside, it, therefore, demands higher vigilance that is non-existent at the moment.

M. A. BUTT                  Karachi

Bravo PAF

IT has been heart warming to see the PAF defeating the terrorist attack that sought to do extensive damage to the assets placed on this sprawling airbase which is well-known for its association for producing JF-Thunder Aircraft with Chinese assistance.

The attackers who sought to specifically damage the valuable surveillance aircraft were foiled through the alert and quick response by the defenders of the base who were well-prepared to deal with this contingency.

It is a measure of professionalism of the personnel at the base that all attackers were killed before they could do major damage to any aircraft.

The officers led from the front; the base commander who got injured during the terrorist assault received his injury while at ground zero while fighting off the desperate attackers who wanted to wreak extensive damage. Allah’s help was evident as the alert and determined preparedness by the PAF carried the day. Well done and bravo PAF.