Islamabad: In one of the most daring attacks on Pakistani military installations, Pakistani Taliban attacked a police academy in Quetta, killing dozens of cadets and injuring more than hundred others. Reports suggest that all the attackers were suicide bombers.
Latest reports suggest that as many as 59 people were killed in the dance macabre very close to provincial capital of Baluchistan, Quetta. While the state is facing home grown insurgency in the state by some Baluch elements, the latest attack, according to Pakistani security officials was mounted by Pakistani Taliban.
While initially it was said that there were five or six attackers, the number was brought down to three suicide bombers. Reports suggest that three gunmen burst into the sprawling academy, targeting sleeping quarters home to some 700 recruits, and sent terrified young men fleeing.
A report in the leading Pakistani newspaper Dawn said that most of the deaths were caused when two of the attackers blew themselves up. The third was shot dead by Frontier Corps (FC) troops. At least 120 people were injured, DawnNews reported.
An eyewitness told a news agency “I saw three men carrying Kalashnikovs… they were in camouflage and their faces were hidden…They started firing and entered the dormitory but I managed to escape by climbing over a wall.” The attack on the Balochistan Police College, around 20 kilometres east of Quetta, began at around 11:10pm Monday, with gunfire continuing to ring out at the site for several hours.
Later Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti told reporters there had been three attackers. “They first targeted the watch tower sentry, and after exchanging fire, killed him and were able to enter the academy grounds,” he said. He later tweeted that the death toll stood at 44 while 118 had been wounded, making the attack the third deadliest in Pakistan this year. Rescue officials said Tuesday morning the death toll had risen to 59.
It was not a long-drawn battle as was the case in some other attacks on military installations in the past. Major General Sher Afgan, chief of the paramilitary FC in Balochistan, which led the counter-operation, said “the attack was over in around three hours after we arrived”. The IG FC said “terrorists were communicating with their handlers in Afghanistan”. “There were three terrorists and all of them were wearing suicide vests,” he added. “Two suicide attackers blew themselves up, which resulted in casualties, while the third one was shot dead by our troops.”