Monday, 30 May 2011

Pakistani Base In Mehran Was Compromised By Its Own Commando

Pakistani intelligence agencies have taken into custody a former naval commando, who was court martialled earlier, and two other persons for their alleged involvement in a terrorist attack on a naval airbase in Karachi that killed 10 security personnel.

Kamran Ahmed, a former personnel of the elite Special Service Group-Navy, was picked up with his younger brother and a friend from Gulberg area of Lahore on Friday, sources said.

Ahmed was posted at the Pakistan Navy's Mehran and Iqbal bases before he was court-martialled about eight years ago for his involvement in a brawl with his superiors.

Since then, he had operated several petty businesses in Lahore.

TV news channels beamed pictures of Ahmed's military identity card and a photo of the former commando, which showed him with a beard and wearing a camouflage uniform.

Sources said Ahmed and the two others were taken to an undisclosed location for interrogation.

There were unconfirmed reports that he might have provided maps and important information about the PNS Mehran naval airbase that was targeted by a group of heavily armed Taliban fighters on May 22.

The attackers blew up two P3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft and killed 10 security personnel, including a naval officer.

Four of the terrorists were killed or blew themselves up.

Authorities had earlier arrested six persons in connection with the attack.

Intelligence sources have said they believe that the attack on PNS Mehran could not have been carried out without "help from insiders".

“They have been detained in connection with the naval base attack and are under interrogation,” one intelligence official said, without giving details.

Imran Ahmed, another brother who was not arrested, told Reuters the two were taken away by intelligence officials on Friday. He gave no details.

An earlier arrest of a suspect in the Mehran base attack led to the arrest of the Ahmed brothers.

A second intelligence official said Kamran Ahmed served at Mehran and was court-martialed for assaulting a senior officer.The military court declared him mentally unfit for the job.

He was also under suspicion after a suicide attack on the naval war college in Lahore in 2008 but was not detained, the official said.“The suspect arrested earlier said Ahmed provided information about the base to a militant network, which carried out the attack.”

The Pakistani Taliban, which is allied to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack on the Mehran base, but many analysts believe they had inside help.The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden in a US raid in Abbottabad on May 2.