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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Peshawar airport under attack - 5 feared dead

Peshawar, capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the North-West Frontier Province) is in news for wrong reasons.  The  administrative centre and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, is situated in a large valley near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, close to the Pak-Afghan border. Known as "City on the Frontier", Peshawar's strategic location on the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia has made it one of the most culturally vibrant and lively cities in the greater region. Peshawar is irrigated by various canals of the Kabul River and by its right tributary, the Bara River.
Strategically situated in the heart of Peshawar, is the International airport, now known as  Bacha Khan International Airport, approximately 180 km from Islamabad.  Bacha Khan International Airport  previously called Peshawar International Airport, was renamed on 27 January 2012 after Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (also known as Bacha Khan), a Pashtun nationalist political leader.
The airport was under attack by Taliban militants according to newspaper reports.  At least 10 people are believed to have died in the attacks by Taliban militants on  Saturday night - when Taliban militants stormed an airport after ramming their explosives-laden vehicle into its outer wall. Reports suggest that the militants attacked the Bacha Khan Airport  around 8.30 p.m. According to local media reports, five rockets were fired by the militants at the airport and two of them hit the runaway. Five attackers were among the dead and over 40 others were injured, Xinhua reported.
All international and domestic flights were cancelled following the attack. The attack was in response to a recent military operation in the area, the army said. The airport authorities said all their assets were safe. President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf have condemned the attack.  Officials of the Civil Aviation Authority said all the 120 passengers of PK 755 leaving for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, are safe inside the terminal. The official said a flight from Karachi to Peshawar was diverted to Islamabad after the attack. The official said so far there are no reports of any damage to the PAF installations.  Flight operations were suspended after the attack and the airport and adjacent areas were sealed. The main University Road and all roads close to the airport and the airbase were closed by the security personnel.
With regards - S. Sampathkumar.

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