The aftermath of TTP’s five-hour attack on the Karachi airport left over 20 dead, including 10 militants. Previous terrorist attacks have been on army bases like the one on GHQ in 2009, PNS Mehran in 2011 and on the Kamra airbase in 2012. This is the first large-scale attack on a civilian installation. The Taliban have taken responsibility and have said that the aim of the Taliban was a hijacking. A TTP spokesperson has said that this was a reaction to the army stepping up its operations, while the government speaks of negotiations, “Pakistan used peace talks as a tool of war”. Yet it was the Taliban in April who announced an end to the ceasefire and threw a monkey wrench into the talks. They have threatened that this is first in their attacks to avenge the killing of their leader Hakimullah Mehsud.

There are fears that the airport assault proves that negotiations have not helped and the government should have rather gone after the TTP with greater force. And if this brazen attack doesn’t shake up the state and make it really put all its pressure in ending the insurgency in North Waziristan, nothing will. For the TTP now, it’s all about petty revenge and tit for tat attacks and it is about time that they are eliminated before more cities catch fire. The death of innocents included eight ASF members, two officials from the paramilitary Rangers, one police officer and three staff members from state carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

It is clear that the TTP is hurting, what with two leaders being killed in drone attacks, a large important faction splitting from it, army conducting operations in North Waziristan, and the tribal Jirga also wanting to end the fighting and expel foreign fighters. At this time there are many questions, why did the intelligence agencies to fail to pre-empt an attack of this scale? The state’s incompetence was on display when even the fire trucks tasked with putting out the fires erupting on the scene were delayed because they were out of fuel. And how did these terrorists get to the airport armed to the teeth? Yet, the army foiled the Taliban attempt, and maybe it is time that support for the TTP erode and sentiments of nationalism and unity against violence prevail.