NY Times, Reuters Whitewash US Drone Strike Killing of Mehsud From Taliban Reasons for Karachi Airport Attack

Karachi’s Airport has resumed operations today, but a deadly late night attack shut it down for many hours overnight. It appears that ten militants entered the airport Sunday night, most likely uniformed as airport security personnel, and killed up to 18 people before they were killed by airport security and rapidly responding military units. The TTP, Pakistan’s Taliban, has claimed responsibility for the attack. The New York Times and Reuters, however, chose to be very selective in how they reported the TTP’s claim of responsibility. Both news outlets left out the TTP’s prominent mention of the US drone strike in November that killed TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud in describing the TTP’s reasons for the attack. By contrast, AP and the Washington Post included the TTP’s reference to the drone strike.

Here is how the Post article opens:

Heavily armed gunmen disguised as security forces attacked Karachi’s international airport Sunday night, killing at least 18 people before government troops regained control early Monday. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault, which appeared to dash hopes for peace talks.

The government said all 10 of the attackers were killed in more than five hours of fighting at the airport, which would bring the total number of deaths to 28. A doctor at Karachi’s Jinnah Hospital said 18 bodies were brought to the morgue there and that 11 of the dead were airport security personnel, the Associated Press reported. The bodies of the attackers remained in police custody.

In a statement Monday, Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said the attack was in response to recent Pakistani military airstrikes in northwestern Pakistan and to a U.S. drone strike in November that killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the radical Islamist group.

Shahid added the attack should be viewed as a sign that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s efforts to engage the group in peace talks had failed.

“The message to the Pakistani government is that we are still alive to react to the killings of innocent people in bomb attacks on their villages,” said Shahid, adding the attack followed months of intensive planning.

The AP article twice mentions the attack as in response to the drone killing of Mehsud, and although it mentions Pakistan’s airstrikes in the tribal regions after peace talks broke off, it doesn’t tie those air strikes to the TTP reasons for the attack. The Times and Reuters, in contrast, only tie the attack to the air strikes and not to the Mehsud drone strike. From the Times:

 The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility Monday for a ferocious overnight assault in Karachi that stretched into the morning in which gunmen infiltrated Pakistan’s largest international airport and waged an extended firefight against security forces that resulted in 29 deaths and shook the country’s already fragile sense of security.

The attack “was a response to the recent attacks by the government,” Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said by telephone. “We will continue carrying out such attacks.” He insisted, however, that the group was seeking to resuscitate peace talks with the government.

And from Reuters:

The Pakistani Taliban, an alliance of insurgent groups fighting to topple the government and set up a sharia state, said they carried out the attack in response to air strikes on their strongholds near the Afghan border and suggested their mission was to hijack a passenger plane.

“It is a message to the Pakistan government that we are still alive to react over the killings of innocent people in bomb attacks on their villages,” said Shahidullah Shahid, a Taliban spokesman.

“The main goal of this attack was to damage the government, including by hijacking planes and destroying state installations.”

Pakistan’s Dawn News gives the broader range of TTP explanations:

The TTP further said: “It’s just the beginning, we have taken revenge for one (Mehsud), we have to take revenge for hundreds.”

/snip/

Shahidullah Shahid moreover dismissed the Pakistani government’s peace talks methodology as a “tool of war”.

Shahidullah Shahid said the attack was planned much earlier but had been postponed due to the peace talks.

The TTP spokesman in a statement issued to the media said that the attack was also carried out to avenge the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone strike.

“We carried out this attack on the Karachi airport and it is a message to the Pakistani government that we are still alive to react over the killings of innocent people in bomb attacks on their villages,” TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said.

Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for the army’s air strikes in areas along the Afghan border where the insurgents are based.

By citing only Pakistan’s air strikes against the TTP, the New York Times and Reuters portray the Karachi airport attack as a problem that is solely due to politics internal to Pakistan. That is a gross misrepresentation of the situation, as the US drone strike on Hakimullah Mehsud came at an extremely critical time when the peace talks first began to look like a concrete possibility. That US strike was a huge external intervention by the US and clearly put Pakistan on a path to even more bloodshed. At least the Washington Post and AP allow their readers to see that blowback for US intervention played a significant role in this attack.

Many years ago, Jim got a BA in Radiation Biophysics from the University of Kansas. He then got a PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA and did postdoctoral research in yeast genetics at UC Berkeley and mouse retroviruses at Stanford. He joined biosys in Palo Alto, producing insect parasitic nematodes for pest control. In the early 1990’s, he moved to Gainesville, FL and founded a company that eventually became Entomos. He left the firm as it reorganized into Pasteuria Biosciences and chose not to found a new firm due a clash of values with venture capital investors, who generally lack all values. Upon leaving, he chose to be a stay at home dad, gentleman farmer, cook and horse wrangler. He discovered the online world through commenting at Glenn Greenwald’s blog in the Salon days and was involved in the briefly successful Chris Dodd move to block the bill to renew FISA. He then went on to blog at Firedoglake and served a brief stint as evening editor there. When the Emptywheel blog moved out of Firedoglake back to standalone status, Jim tagged along and blogged on anthrax, viruses, John Galt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is now a mostly lapsed blogger looking for a work-around to the depressing realization that pointing out the details of government malfeasance and elite immunity has approximately zero effect.
11 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    Good catch, thank you. What comes to mind is Pete Seeger’s lines: “Where have all the soldiers gone? Gone to graveyards, everyone. Oh, when will they ever learn?”

  2. Don Bacon says:

    It was Obama’s intent to expand the Afghan war into Pakistan, creating “AfPak,” and in his five years as president it is the only thing he has “succeeded” at. It was necessary, Obama claimed, because “for the American people, this border region has become the most dangerous place in the world.”
    .
    Obama, March 27, 2009
    So let me be clear: Al Qaeda and its allies — the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks — are in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the United States homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan. And if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban — or allows al Qaeda to go unchallenged — that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.
    .
    The future of Afghanistan is inextricably linked to the future of its neighbor, Pakistan. In the nearly eight years since 9/11, al Qaeda and its extremist allies have moved across the border to the remote areas of the Pakistani frontier. This almost certainly includes al Qaeda’s leadership: Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. They have used this mountainous terrain as a safe haven to hide, to train terrorists, to communicate with followers, to plot attacks, and to send fighters to support the insurgency in Afghanistan. For the American people, this border region has become the most dangerous place in the world.
    .
    That was five years ago, before Obama’s drone-rocket program killed thousands of mostly innocent people including children in Pakistan.
    .
    State, Feb 5, 2014: The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Pakistan. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated September 6, 2013, to remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in Pakistan.
    .
    Who can stop this madness?

    • blueskybigstar says:

      Sorry, the U. S. Govt. and Israel were behind 9-11 and are the instigators of most of the violence around the world. Anybody who does not know this is either part of its perpetration and obstruction of justice or is too lazy and lacking of intelligence to check the facts of the official story.

  3. blueskybigstar says:

    Wikileaks long ago revealed the number in the thousands of CIA operatives in the country of Pakistan. Whenever things go badly there, it would be incorrect to immediately discount the CIA as a prime suspect in the attack. The fact that these people are foreigners, said to be Uzbekis, is a troubling sign indeed and matches the modus operandi of the CIA with the recruitment of people from foreign countries. Friday was a day of celebration for the Taliban because they had succeeded in getting Pakistan to prosecute the CIA chief for the targeted assassination of one of their leaders who was known for his ability to compromise and ability to bring peace. As was revealed by a story in the Huffingtonpost that has since been wiped from the internet, General Stanley McChrystal revealed in a speech to elites in London that they were very near to causing “endless war” in Central Asia. The false flag attack in Mumbai comes to mind. An attack like this would not be one likely to be committed by people in celebration. As with Sandy Hook, court cases that went against the CIA in Europe and against drug traffickers with govt. connections in Texas were not widely reported by the distraction of Sandy Hook, which has an incredible amount of connections with the shooting in Aurora, CO.

    • blueskybigstar says:

      GWB and the U.S Govt. have admitted that their stories about Iraq’s influence in 9-11 were lies. We used these lies to invade and cause chaos. American officials like Dick Cheney made a killing off the rebuilding of that country with these no bid contracts to Haliburton. If our country could lie about the reasons for war that bankrupted our nation, killed so many Americans, caused millions of refugees, millions of orphans, and according to Lancet, took the lives of over a million Iraqi people, what difference do a few thousand people’s lives in New York mean to them? There is no way that so many people could have profited from 9-11 so quickly without knowing about it before hand.

  4. Don Bacon says:

    Whether the actual perps at the airport were this or that doesn’t matter as much as who instigated the attack as apart of a larger plan.
    .
    The US has a strategic goal of destabilizing countries in areas it is interested in, which is most if not all of the world. As in Ukraine, for example, most recently, and most of MENA before that.
    .
    Example: The US through the State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy funds separatists, terrorists in the Xinjiang province of China. State and CIA are closely linked, and so I’m sure that the CIA is active in some fashion in Xinjiang.
    .
    So were the latest terrorist incidents in Xinjiang done by CIA agents or by local hoodlums were were paid and motivated to do the deed? It matters little.

  5. bsbafflesbrains says:

    More proof that the MICC does not want peace and that the M$M is their propaganda arm in toto.

  6. ArizonaBumblebee says:

    This attack reminds us that the great game for Eurasia is now white hot and may be entering a new phase. A brief summary should suffice. The prime minister for Turkey, Recep Erdogan, entertains the new president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani. The new prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, angers China by unwittingly inviting the “prime minister of Tibet”, Lobsang Sangay, to his swearing-in ceremony (possibly with the connivance of a BJP official with ties to the CIA). Chatham House issues a report summarizing the devastating impact that America’s departure from Afghanistan will have on its economy (putting the lie to the notion that events will go swimmingly there after America is gone). The Russians are busily preparing to de-dollarize their commercial relationships with other countries, threatening the reign of the petrodollar. Germany and France are playing a double game over the uber-sanctions that the United States keeps threatening to impose over Ukraine. Meanwhile, President Hollande faces withering criticism in France from Gaullists and the National Front over his inept defense of BNP Paribas in their dispute with the American DOJ. Finally, there are recurring reports that the Americans are playing a double game with terrorists from Central Asia, including Uzbeks and Uighurs, hoping to spread unrest in areas under Russian or Chinese influence. Of course, our illustrious MSM never reports any of this; so the American people are totally in the dark. The next time you hear President Obama or Secretary of State Kerry talk about freedom and democracy in Ukraine or Afghanistan, you are permitted to laugh out loud.

Comments are closed.