Taliban attack on Peshawar airport shows fundamental change in militants' tactics
The latest Taliban attack on the Peshawar airport highlights the terror outfit's recent focus on higher-profile and official targets.
Ten militants from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attacked the airport with automatic weapons, grenades, and mortars late Saturday. Six people were killed after a six-hour stand off between the militants and Pakistani police and troops, reports the Christian Science Monitor.
Even though the airport is used by civilians for local and international travel, it is also used by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) for operations in Pakistan's tribal belt - making it a strategic target for the TTP.
According to security analysts, the attack on Peshawar airport indicates a fundamental shift in militant strategy.
"This attack is a sign that militants have changed their tactics. Rather than attacking the common man, which entails greater condemnation, they have now started attacking the people or institutions that are supposed to protect the people," said Imtiaz Gul, executive director of the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS).
"The attack in Peshawar underlines a security lapse," said Gul. However, the shift in strategy, the joint use of the airport, and its clear vulnerability should have alerted security forces, he added.
Amir Rana, the Director of Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, disagrees.
"The surveillance level of the Army is in tact. That is why this attack was not as successful as Mehran," said Rana, referring to a May 2011 shooting carried out by the TTP against the Pakistan Naval Base Mehran in Karachi, where 15 militants killed 18 military personnel and wounded an additional 16.
"Of course, we cannot completely stop these attacks - that will take time. But the capacity is there. This is fundamentally a question of coordination," said Rana.