Only a day after the Chief of Army Staff stated that terrorists had been wiped off the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA), the terrorists carried out a dare devil but well planned attack on the Badaber Airforce camp and killed 29 personnel of armed forces including a captain of Pak army, 2 soldiers, three PAF technicians and 20 other PAF personnel who were offering prayer in the airforce base mosque. All attackers were also killed in the encounter.
Badaber is in outskirts of Peshawar and away from FATA. The attackers, thirteen in number, had an unhindered smooth drive till the target and managed to enter it as well. It is quite perplexing that they reached the base by deceiving and defying all security barricades. Nobody could detect them or check them on the way from Peshawar or Kohat. The failure of intelligence and security apparatus could not be more evident.
ISPR Spokesman stated during a press conference that the attackers came from Afghanistan and were provided weapons in Pakistan. He was sure of his information collected through technical intelligence. Eight attackers appeared to be of foreign appearance. Why the intelligence agencies failed to have clue of the plan beforehand. We are in a state of war. How could we fail to gather intelligence about a terrorist plan which included lot of planning, reccky of the area, involvement of different groups, travelling from one country to other and transportation of weapons. This is a point to ponder deeply to avert future attacks because this was not the last incident.
By carrying out this attack the terrorists have demonstrated their tenacity, power, intelligence prowess and logistic efficiency which should be a point of worry for our forces and policy makers. We have been claiming to have destroyed command and control structures of the terrorists and annihilated them in FATA. Prior to it the terrorists had killed Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada and recently carried out suicide attack in Multan in which many people were killed.
It appears that the terrorists have plans and strategies in place. Their current two pronged strategy is to hit military and civilian targets in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The danger is real and tangible. But it must be realised that it is not military’s task to counter terrorism in cities. Police and counter terrorism departments should be ready to pick up the gauntlet. They should show spine and skills to face and curb the menace according to the National Action Plan (NAP).
The sympathisers of terrorists, who are a myriad, must be gloating over the situation, hoping for the failure of the government in their endeavours against the terrorists. They are lurking in our urban centres and living among us without showing their actual face. This is what one can gather from the terrorist incidents in KP and Punjab. The civil agencies must identify, expose and neutralise these elements. It is a task entirely different from the one being done by the armed forces in FATA. It requires relentless intelligence and law enforcement work as per the directions laid down in the NAP.
On the other hand, if it is confirmed beyond doubt that this terrorist attack was designed in and controlled from Afghanistan, it is high time to start barricading the Pak- Afghan border and thousands of Afghanis who cross the border daily should be accounted for. Whatever cost we have to pay for making these arrangements we ought to bear that. To top all, FATA should not be left as the odd one out any more. It must be embraced in the main stream and made part of Pakistan, run by same laws. Its people must enjoy same rights and have same opportunities as the citizens of all other parts of Pakistan. It will make it prosperous and governable.

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