Day-Long Siege Underscores Pakistan’s Vulnerability

If Pakistan's Army HQ Is Vulnerable to Attack, Is Anywhere Safe?

Pakistan is still reeling following yesterday’s attack on its army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi, and the 20+ hour siege that followed. 20 were slain in the attack but the ramifications go far beyond the mere body count.

Attacks have been on the rise in recent days, showing that despite claims of major gains the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is still a powerful force to be reckoned with.

But a deadly attack on a market in Peshawar is one thing, yesterday’s attack was quite another. A handful of militants, not even from the TTP’s core group but from a smaller Punjabi auxiliary, were able to set up a base of operations in the capital city of Islamabad for months on end and successfully infiltrate the headquarters of the Pakistani military, take dozens of hostages, and hold off commandos for nearly the entire day.

The nation’s vulnerability is palpable at this point, and it seems that if the army’s headquarters can be hit, literally any location in Pakistan could be next. The military seems determined to press on with its offensives in the tribal areas, but it is their defensive capabilities, or lack thereof, that Pakistanis must be increasingly worried about.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.