(Adds background, edits)
By Syed Raza Hassan
KARACHI, Pakistan, June 10 Pakistan's Taliban
insurgents claimed responsibility for an attack on a security
academy at Karachi's airport on Tuesday, less than 48 hours
after an all-night siege by Taliban gunmen at Pakistan's busiest
airport that killed more than 30 people.
The late Sunday assault destroyed prospects for peace talks
between the Taliban and the government of Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif and triggered speculation that the army might opt for an
all-out offensive against militant strongholds.
On Tuesday, a group of gunmen on motorbikes opened fire on
an academy run by the Airports Security Force (ASF) and fled
after security forces retaliated. No one was hurt, officials
"We accept responsibility for another successful attack
against the government," Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah
Shahid told Reuters.
"We are successfully achieving all our targets and we will
go on carrying on many more such attacks."
Ten militants disguised as security force members and armed
with rocket-propelled grenades broke into the airport in the
first attack, one of the most brazen in a long-running
Pakistani Taliban insurgency. At least 34 people were killed.
Reflecting an atmosphere of nervousness, Karachi airport
suspended all flights in and out of the sprawling city of 18
million for the second time in two days, although most flights
were restored by 0930 GMT.
Earlier on Tuesday, Pakistani fighter jets bombed Taliban
positions on the Afghan border.
"Nine terrorist hideouts were destroyed by early morning
military air strikes near the Pakistan-Afghan border," the
army's press wing said, adding that 25 militants were killed.
SEVEN MORE BODIES
The Pakistani Taliban are allied with the Afghan militants
of the same name and share a similar jihadist ideology.
But they operate as a separate entity, focused entirely on
toppling the Pakistani state and establishing strict Islamic
rule in the nuclear-armed nation, whereas the Afghan Taliban are
united by their campaign against invading foreign forces.
It was unclear if the latest air strikes signalled the start
of a broader offensive in the North Waziristan region where the
al Qaeda-linked Taliban are based, or indeed if they had been
carried out in retaliation for the airport attack.
The air force has periodically conducted raids to bomb
Pakistani Taliban positions in the lawless, ethnic Pashtun
region but has yet to launch a major offensive.
The semi-autonomous Pashtun lands along the border, known as
the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, have never been brought
under the full control of any government.
The Pakistani Taliban, a loose alliance of insurgent groups
united by anti-state ideology, said they had carried out the
late Sunday attack in Karachi in response to the air strikes on
At Karachi's airport, rescue workers earlier recovered the
bodies of seven people trapped inside a cargo building, bringing
to 34 the death toll from the first assault.
"The bodies are badly charred beyond identification," said a
morgue official who declined to be identified.
Airport officials said the victims had taken refuge in the
cargo shed to hide from the gunfire but got trapped when the
building caught fire.
"They (security forces) were busy killing militants and
clearing the area, nobody bothered to rescue these trapped men,"
said Abdul Rehman, whose brother was among those killed. "They
could have been saved if timely rescue efforts had been made."
(Writing by John Chalmers and Maria Golovnina; Editing by Nick