January 2, 2016 Islamist attack on Indian airbase

On this day in 2016, Pakistani terrorists dressed in Indian Army uniforms attacked the Pathankot Air Base, killing several personnel.

PATHANKOT AIR BASE, INDIA – Attacks on military officials are hard to categorise as terrorism: this one wasn’t.

You know that I am a Monty Python fan: I have mentioned the zany English comedy group on enough occasions to make my views quite well known.

There are so many skits that are my ‘favourite’ that it is truly impossible for me to settle on just one. For the purposes of today’s feature, however, I will choose the one entitled “How not to be seen” (Season 2 Episode 11 of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Have a look-see).

If you are a terrorist and want to succeed it is indeed a good idea to follow Monty Python’s advice. Don’t give away who you really are! Today’s attack in a good example.

On this day in 2016

On this day in 2016 four Pakistani terrorists attacked an Indian Air Force base at Pathankot, near the India-Pakistan border in Punjab state. At least four gunmen dressed in Indian Army uniforms were killed as were a number of Indian personnel.

Indian officials blamed the attack on the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a militant group close to Pakistani intelligence which had until that point been kept on ‘a tight leash’ for several years. There was also a claim of responsibility by the United Jihad Council, a Kashmiri group.

The attack led to renewed tension between the two nations. It was not the first time Pakistani jihadis had donned Indian uniforms. It will likely not be the last.

One last thing. Normally, terrorism is described as an act of violence against non-combatants. Indian Army personnel are clearly not civilians. The fact, however, that the group(s) responsible were clearly terrorist ones gives me the confidence to categorise this incident as a terrorist one.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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