Terrorism & Insurgency

TTP claims responsibility for Karachi attack

09 June 2014
Fire illuminates the sky above Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, where security forces fought attackers who stormed an airport terminal used for VIPs and cargo. Source: AP/Shakil Adil

The Taliban in Pakistan (TTP) says it carried out a grenade and firearm attack on 8 June at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan.

A total of 28 people have been reported dead, including 14 members of the Airport Security Force (ASF) and all 10 of the attackers.

Security officials reported on 9 June that the incident is over and flights at Pakistan's largest airport are set to resume.

The TTP attackers are believed to have used false worker credentials to access the VIP and cargo terminal, although there is no official confirmation of this at the time of writing.

Qaim Ali Shah, chief minister of Sindh Province, said the attackers were "well trained".

Some cargo was set on fire but no aircraft were destroyed in the attack.


ASF Director Tariq Khan told IHS Jane's in a recent interview that Pakistan has "a foolproof security system". Unfortunately, this confidence now appears misplaced and the methods employed in the latest attack are likely to lead to changes in the way the ASF conducts its operations. In particular, the possibility that attackers were able to gain entry to the cargo and VIP terminal with fake or stolen worker credentials raises questions over the strength of access control at Pakistani airports.

Security agencies in Pakistan are already well aware of the threats posed to airports and aircraft. The ASF, established in 1976 specifically to protect Pakistani aviation assets, deploys closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, screening machines, an intelligence wing, a quick-response squad, and reserves to deal with emergencies, but its main focus is on detailed manual checks.

Until the 8 June attack on Karachi, these efforts had been successful in preventing insurgents from gaining entry into a Pakistani airport to carry out an attack - in most incidents (on 27 April 2014 at Bacha Khan International Airport in Peshawar, for example) mortars or rockets are fired from outside the perimeter.

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