Pakistanis have a pretty thick skin when it comes to terrorist attacks, after the 2001 US invasion of neighboring Afghanistan kicked off 13 years of increasing violence on their northern frontier. Yesterday’s strike on the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi has many in shock, however.
That’s because the Pakistani Taliban is usually a northern problem, and yesterday’s attack struck their largest, best guarded airport in the far south. If they can hit here, where can’t they hit?
Many are worried the worst is yet to come, after the well-trained and heavily armed fighters stormed the Karachi airport, sparking an all-day gunbattle in which they aimed to hijack planes and destroy others. 29 were killed and many others wounded.
The attack reflects a growing aggressiveness among Taliban fighters, even as some were looking to break off and get peace talks with the government restarted, and while Pakistani officials tried to downplay the incident, the impact is obvious.
Not only is this another blow to Pakistan’s security forces and their already struggling credibility, it is also a sign that the Sharif government simply doesn’t have a handle on the nation’s Taliban problem. After promising peace talks they never followed through on, there’s very little reason to hope the Sharif government can prevent future attacks anywhere in Pakistan.