Night Watch

Pakistan: Update. Officials clarified Pakistani media reports of renewed fighting at Karachi International Airport this morning. They said the apparent gunshots were explosions from over-heated chemical canisters. Security forces were confused and returned gunfire. The latest body count is 30 dead including ten terrorists.

A Pakistani Taliban spokesman warned that the group will engage in all-out war starting 10 June.

The government has increased security at its nuclear sites in response to this attack.

Comment: The VIP area of the airport was the initial location of the action. Feedback from a Brilliant and highly experienced Reader and news reports confirm that security outside VIP lounges often is light, which makes them a vulnerable point of entry.

One senior Pakistan official said the attack was well planned and organized. The attackers were well armed, but their intelligence about Pakistani airport security apparently underestimated the resilience of the airport security personnel.

This was a sensational and bold attack. For the purposes of unnerving a nation, the attack was a strategic success for the Pakistani Taliban. Still, the outcome could have been much worse for Pakistan. The attackers failed to seize an aircraft; failed to damage any aircraft; inflicted limited casualties and all died. The number of casualties could easily have been much higher had the attackers hijacked an aircraft or reached the main passenger terminal.

Cameroon: Cameroonian press claimed that the army's Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), killed 118 Boko Haram fighters in northern Cameroon. Two Cameroonian soldiers were killed.

According to the press report, the action was part of a large scale operation that the government ordered to eliminate Boko Haram.

On Saturday, a group of 50 Boko Haram fighters crossed from Nigeria to attack a Cameroonian village. The self-defense force fought off the attack, killing two terrorists and seizing their vehicle. The remaining fighters fled to Nigeria.

Comment: The large casualty number apparently is the total for a series of operations conducted last week. This is the second report in a month about engagements in which Cameroonian soldiers inflicted significant casualties on Boko Haram in Cameroon. The week before last, Cameroon reported 40 Boko Haram killed. Cameroon has committed about 1,000 soldiers to the fight in Cameroon's Far North Region.

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