Navy Dockyard attack had inside help: Kh Asif

ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Wednesday said there was a strong possibility that Taliban militants who attacked the naval dockyard at the weekend had inside help.

Three attackers were killed in Saturday’s raid while seven others were arrested, Khawaja Asif told lawmakers in parliament, raising the previously reported toll of two insurgents. One sailor was also killed.

“We cannot rule out inside help in this attack because without it the miscreants could not breach security,” Asif said.

“It is the result of blow-back from the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan,” he added, referring to an army-led offensive in a northwestern tribal area that began in June.

Asif said security forces seized pistols, Kalashnikov rifles, walkie talkies, suicide vests, handcuffs and religious books from the militants.

One of the attackers had connections in North Waziristan, a stronghold of Taliban militants where the army has launched a massive operation since mid-June, he added.

The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they had inside help.

“We had support from inside the naval force for this attack. This operation was successful because of this support. We will continue targeting security forces like this in future also,” TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told.

The military launched its North Waziristan offensive shortly after a brazen attack on Karachi airport that left dozens dead and extinguished a largely fruitless peace process with the TTP.

The military said on Wednesday it had killed 35 militants and destroyed three hideouts in fresh air strikes in the region.