By Charles Russo
Over the weekend one of Pakistan’s more highly secured bases in southern Karachi was attacked by militants carrying assault rifles and RPG’s. The Mehran naval base is home to maritime patrol aircraft, P-3C Orion, which have been supplied to the Pakistani military by the United States. According to early reports two aircraft were on the base at the time and one had been destroyed by rocket propelled grenades used in the attack and that they may have been specifically targeted by Pakistani Taliban as revenge for the May 2 death of Usama bin Laden.
The attack had been claimed by Pakistani Taliban while fighting continued. Military officials reported that police and military units were quickly dispatched to the base to battle the insurgents. It is reported that 4 navy personnel had been killed and approximately 9 others injured in the ongoing battle.
The Pakistani Taliban have previously claimed responsibility for or been suspected to have perpetrated a number of attacks over the past few years upon Pakistani military installations and personnel. On 26 April, suspected Taliban militants bombed two buses carrying navy personnel, which killed four people and injured 56 others. Two days later a roadside bomb was detonated in Karachi, killing four members of the navy, bringing the totally to three attacks on the navy in a week.
The circumstances within Pakistan are very tense ever since the U.S. lead raid on Usama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad. Pakistani military is battling insurgents from within while trying to temper its need for backing by the U.S. and internal security situation that is has to deal with. Pakistan is faced with a delicate balancing act of needing continued backing to fight terrorism and not being perceived as being a puppet of the United States.