Terming the Taliban attack on the Mehran naval air base as a “big security lapse,” Pakistani defence and political analysts on Monday said that “insiders” were facilitating the militants in their deadly agenda and asked the government and military to wake up to this.

The daring attack by the armed militants, who used rockets, grenades and heavy ammunition, has raised serious doubt over the military’s ability to protect its key installations.

“It is a worrying thing this attack and is nothing but a serious security lapse on part of the navy,” Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Shahzad Chaudhary, a defence analyst said.

He pointed out that the PNS Mehran was one of Pakistan’s most important naval airbases with the latest equipment and aircrafts and for militants to attack it so easily and brazenly showed big loops in the security.

“Just last month two bomb attacks were carried out on Naval buses in the city in which innocent people were killed and the naval installations should have been on high alert,” he added.

Another defence analyst, Ikram Saigal noted that after the killing of al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden on May 2 in Abbottabad by U.S. forces, the Taliban had vowed to carry out revenge attacks.

“Despite that for this incident to take place is a clear failure of security and intelligence and the government needs to really look deep down to prevent such attacks again,” he said.

As security forces continued to battle 15-20 Taliban militants who struck to take control of the base housing naval maritime reconnaissance aircraft and naval missiles, Nasim Zehra, a political and current affairs expert, said the attack only highlighted the need for the government and military to accept they were insiders who were facilitating the terrorists in their actions.

“It is not possible for these terrorists to have so much creditable information about the presence of the aircrafts on the base without inside help.

“The fact that these militants have managed to hold off the security forces for the last 13 hours shows they came well drilled and prepared for the operation,” Ms. Zehra said.

She said that it was time for the nation and armed forces to recognize they were fighting against a well organised enemy which is clearly getting inside help.

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