Another attack
[Dawn] ANOTHER military airbase attacked; another full set of lessons that perhaps will not be learned. Since the attack on the Mehran airbase in Bloody Karachi
...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous...
, the snuffies have demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of both the psychology and methodology of high-profile attacks. Targeting an airbase in even a semi-successful attack captures public attention in a way that a highly successful attack against other military targets would not. And while the security forces appear to be protecting vulnerabilities at airbases better than was the case before the Mehran attack, the snuffies are also adapting. They appear to be probing for weaknesses by deploying new combinations of fidayeen and suicide kaboomers, and still have fairly good intelligence on their targets. Why this is so is a question that the public has not received an answer to. So the focus must necessarily turn to more transparency and accountability within the security and intelligence apparatus.

Every new high-profile attack is a reminder of how little is known publicly about the investigations into previous such attacks. Was physical security as rigorous as it could be? Was the vetting of security personnel posted at these installations thorough? Were maps and schematics and other information protected adequately? And after weaknesses were exposed, how effective was the response of the security apparatus to ensure a repeat would be difficult? Clearly, as the attack on a foreign airbase in southern Afghanistan proved, the snuffies can exploit weaknesses in defences in even the most hostile environment. But in the absence of transparent and public investigations and accountability, we can’t be certain that negligence, incompetence or complicity in the security apparatus here is being identified and punished as thoroughly as it should.

Then there is the broader question that always comes up in these moments. Beautiful Downtown Peshawar
...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire.
is adjacent to the tribal areas and as such will always remain more vulnerable than most Pak cities unless a coherent policy for eliminating militancy is developed. But despite having tens of thousands of troops stationed in Fata and launching a series of military operations that have recovered swathes of territory that had virtually been ceded to the thugs, the absence of a zero-tolerance policy towards militancy has made it difficult to win this war. Apologists for the Taliban, who refuse to see that the thugs’ war is against Pakistain and its people, have stood in the way of a unified stance. North Wazoo, and also the Tirah valley, remains a fundamental threat to security in Pakistain. Yet it is still not clear how the army-led security establishment intends to defang that threat. Paralysis and policy drift will only enable the snuffies to push harder to find even more weaknesses.

Posted by: Fred 2012-12-18