Several aircraft were destroyed during the attack.
Pakistani military officials have stated that they successfully repelled an attack by militants on an airbase in the central part of the country, as reported by Sarbaz.kz, citing NYTimes.
However, this incident, which occurred shortly after another audacious attack on the military, has once again raised concerns about the unstable security situation in the country.
The attempt to breach the Mianwali training airbase took place the day after 14 soldiers traveling in a convoy were ambushed and killed in the Baluchistan province in the southwest of the country. No group claimed responsibility for that attack. A little-known militant group, Tehrik-i-Jihad Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack on the airbase, stating that their aim was to destroy aircraft that, according to them, were being used against civilians. This claim could not be immediately verified.
Military analysts in Pakistan have noted the alarming trend of an increasing number of attacks on military installations. More broadly, extremist violence in the country has significantly increased since the Taliban's takeover of neighboring Afghanistan in 2021. This has fueled growing tensions between the Pakistani government and official representatives of the Taliban movement, who reject Pakistan's accusations of providing sanctuary to militant groups, including the Pakistani branch of the Taliban.
According to the New York Times, the attack on the airbase, considered a highly secure facility, began around 3 a.m. when the assailants used a ladder to climb over the wall. By midday, all nine attackers had been killed. The fighter aircraft at the airbase, stored in concrete hangars, were unharmed, but three other described as non-operational aircraft were damaged. It was unclear whether those defending the airbase suffered any losses.
Despite claims that no aircraft were damaged during the attack, a video posted on the X social network shows at least several aircraft on fire. One of the aircraft near the burning ones suggests that several Chengdu J-7 aircraft of Chinese origin were destroyed.
The attacked Pakistani airbase is home to the 1st Squadron, which operates K-8P training aircraft (analogous to the L-39), the 20th Squadron with J-7 aircraft, and the 86th Squadron, which conducts operations with Alouette III helicopters.
Contrary to images and video footage, a statement by Pakistani military officials said that militants managed to damage three aircraft at the Pakistan Air Force base and a refueling tanker in Mianwali. The terrorists also claimed that their militants had destroyed a tank that arrived as reinforcements.