Insiders helped militants plot PNS Mehran naval base attack: Experts

Terming the TTP attack on the Mehran naval air base as a "big security lapse", Pakistani defence and political analysts Monday said that "insiders" were facilitating the militants in their deadly agenda and asked the government and military to wake up to this. The daring attack by the armed militants, who used rockets, grenades and heavy ammunition, has raised serious doubt over the military's ability to protect its key installations. "It is a worrying thing this attack and is nothing but a serious security lapse on part of the navy," Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Shahzad Chaudhary, a defence analyst said. He pointed out that the PNS Mehran was one of Pakistan's most important naval airbases with the latest equipment and aircraft and for militants to attack it so easily and brazenly showed big loops in the security. "Just last month two bomb attacks were carried out on Naval buses in the city in which innocent people were killed and the naval installations should have been on high alert," after that, he said. Another defence analyst, Ikram Saigal noted that after the killing of al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden on May 2 in Abbottabad by US forces, the Taliban had vowed to carry out revenge attacks. "Despite that for this incident to take place is a clear failure of security and intelligence and the government needs to really look deep down to prevent such attacks again," he said. Nasim Zehra, a political and current affairs expert, said the attack only highlighted the need for the government and military to accept they were insiders who were facilitating the terrorists in their actions. "It is not possible for these terrorists to have so much creditable information about the presence of the aircraft on the base without inside help. "The fact that these militants have managed to hold off the security forces for the last 13 hours shows they came well drilled and prepared for the operation," Zehra said. She said that it was time for the nation and armed forces to recognize they were fighting against a well organised enemy which is clearly getting inside help. "They are rogue elements apparently helping these militants." Kamran Khan, a well known political analyst said the attack had shaken the confidence of the Pakistan people. "It is time we stopped blaming others for our problems and seriously looked within our own to root out these terrorists. "It is not possible that such an attack can be carried out with so much precision without help from insiders. "We have to accept that Pakistan is now the hotbed of many militant outfits and our intelligence and security agencies need to recognise this fact first," he said. The attack evoked memories of an assault on Pakistan's army headquarters in Rawalpindi in 2009, and is a further embarrassment for the military, widely seen as the only properly functioning institution in Pakistan, in the wake of bin Laden's killing.

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