Global Politics

Pakistan military base attack over

The battle for a naval base in Karachi, Pakistan, is over. And the Pakistani military is back in control there.

Player utilities

Listen to the Story.

But the questions about the country's ability to protect its military installations are just starting. The deadly attack on the base was reportedly carried out by just six Taliban fighters.

It was the worst attack on a Pakistani military installation since 2009. Explosions and heavy gunfire could be heard throughout the night.

Security personnel engaged in heavy firefights with the militants for hours in an attempt to retake the naval base. They fired automatic weapons and rocket launchers, destroying $2 million airplanes supplied by the US.

Local television channels showed flames from the burning aircraft. Then, the attackers opened fire, killing 12 security personnel. One of the attackers blew himself up, and three others were killed. The Pakistani Taliban say that they carried out the attack in retaliation for the killing of al-Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden.

This is the most significant attack on the Pakistani military facility since 2009 when attackers raided Army headquarters in Rawalpindi, a garrison town near Islamabad.

Pakistan's Interior Minister, Rehman Malik placed the blame on the country's allies for failing to help.

"If this region is destabilised, the whole world will be affected, therefore the capacity building of Pakistan is very important," Malik said. "Despite that, we are not getting that kind of support which we wanted from the friends, but see, the Prime Minister of Pakistan has cut the budget, the development budget, and we have diverted our funds for the capacity building of our police."
Aid from the United States

The US has largely focused on Pakistan's military, giving billions of dollars in aid to the army to secure the country's nuclear weapons and to contain Islamists. American officials question whether Pakistan is committed to fighting the war on terror. But Pakistani analyst Mosharraf Zaidi said that's the wrong question.

"At one level, it's clear that Pakistan is not doing enough because it's not winning. On the other hand the fact that 30,000 have died demonstrates that Pakistan is engaged in a bloody conflict and the last thing that Pakistanis need to hear is the constant indignity that Pakistan isn't doing enough," Zaidi said.

But Zaidi said regardless of who's ultimately to blame for Monday's attack, it does raise serious questions.

"It demonstrates yet one more time that the Pakistani security infrastructure doesn't have the capability to do what it's supposed to which is defend this country," Zaidi said. "When the military hardware of this country and the men and women in uniform are open to attack in the way they were attacked, then serious questions need to be raised."

But, for Pakistanis like Interior Minister Malik, the raid is a reminder that it is they who are bearing the brunt of a war fueled by the US.

"Pakistan is suffering," Malik said. "Pakistan is the victim. And, inshallah (god willing), we have the courage, we have the resole to fight. And we will keep on fighting until the demise of these terrorists."

Some in Pakistan question whether the country should continue to work with the US. Malik says now is not the time for a rush to judgement.