A day after the deadly Taliban attack on an air force base near here that killed 42 people, Pakistani authorities on Saturday arrested 28 suspects, including eight Afghans.
Police and security forces carried out a joint operation in Ahmedpur area, arresting owners of vehicles used in the brazen attack on the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base at Badaber, six kilometres outside Peshawar, the capital of northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
According to sources, the cars used in the attack were brought from Mattani area of Peshawar, a semi-tribal belt.
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Police officials said at least 28 suspects had been arrested including eight Afghan nationals.
The militants had driven to the PAF base in two vehicles.
The arrested owners of the vehicles are also being questioned.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) said it will prepare a report of the attack. A three-member FIA team also visited the air force base where they collected evidence and recorded statements of witnesses.
The FIA will investigate how the attack took place and the weapons and explosives used.
An FIR of the attack has been registered and according to the Anti Terrorism Department, the PAF had asked for registration of a case against unknown persons.
Yesterday, a group of 13 Pakistani Taliban militants wearing explosives-laden jackets and armed with rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) and automatic rifles had attacked the air base.
The militants, dressed in constabulary uniforms, shot dead 16 air force men who were offering morning prayers at the mosque inside the compound, besides seven others.
Among the 29 people killed by the militants, 23 were from Pakistan air force and three from army – a captain and two soldiers. Three civilians were also killed during the assault that began at 5 AM and lasted for four hours ending with all 13 terrorists shot dead, the military said.
At least 29 people, including eight soldiers and two senior army officers, were injured in the attack.
The military said the attack was planned, controlled and perpetrated from Afghanistan.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had claimed responsibility for the attack.
The attack occurred at a site which is surrounded by tribal areas, the scene of a major military offensive against Taliban and other militants over the past year.
The assault could possibly be a fallout of Operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ launched by the army in June 2014 in a bid to wipe out militant bases to end the bloody decade-long Islamist insurgency that has cost Pakistan thousands of lives.
Peshawar has frequently been targeted by militants. Last December more than 150 people, mostly children, were killed by Taliban gunmen in an attack on an army-run school.