Pak Taliban chief asks fighters to step up attacks in Punjab

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Islamabad, Aug 1: Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud has directed his fighters to step up attacks in Punjab province, especially on intelligence organisations and military facilities like the Pakistan Air Force base in Lahore, according to a media report today.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief has decided to increase terrorist attacks in Punjab to "inflict maximum damage", especially in the provincial capital of Lahore, The Express Tribune quoted its sources as saying.

During a secret meeting held at Asad Khel village in the lawless North Waziristan tribal region, Mehsud allocated Rs 25 million for attacks targeting the PAF base in Lahore and offices of the ISI, Military Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau and Counter-Terrorism Department. The daily quoted an intelligence report as saying that the meeting in North Waziristan was attended by top Taliban commanders, including leaders of the Qari Yasin group, which is listed in the police's "Red Book" as a high-profile terrorist organisation.

Another intelligence report stated that the Taliban were planning attacks similar to the one on the Mehran naval airbase in Karachi in May last year. Militants killed 10 security personnel and destroyed two P3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft during the attack. The militants have allegedly carried out reconnaissance of the PAF base in Lahore and some local employees were "also collaborating with terrorists", the report said. Weapons and ammunition for the attack will be "provided by concealing them using cargo companies", the report said.

PTI

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