|Heavily tattooed body of Peshawar airport attacker|
|Tattoo was an unfinished version of this design by Boris Vallejo|
The tattoos have been the subject of much debate in Pakistan (see this strand, for example), with various religious authorities stating very clearly that they are un-Islamic. The Express Tribune quoted Professor Khursheed Ahmed saying “You cannot perform religious duties if you have tattoos on your body”. He therefore drew the conclusion that the attackers could not be muslims!
The same conclusion was drawn by Allama Tahir Ashrafi, head of Pakistan Ulema Council. “It was astonishing to see the body with a horrible face tattooed on his body. Islam does not allow drawing tattoos. This cannot be the body of a Muslim.”
The attack on Peshawar airport began on Saturday night. The target was the military side of the base, where fighter planes and helicopters are housed.
Five of the attackers were killed during the attack on Saturday, along with three civilians and two policemen. Five more militants were killed on Sunday afternoon when they were spotted in the nearby village of Pawakai. Two of them exploded their suicide vests. The airport reopened after 18 hours.
This was the third attack on a Pakistan military base in the last few months, a phenomenon mirrored in neighbouring Afghanistan where 10-12-man teams have also attacked two large coalition bases in recent months. Highly disciplined teams of well-trained fighters have been central to all these attacks, suggesting that trainers with military backgrounds and contacts are involved in preparing and planning them. Uzbek fighters are seen as some of the best trained fighters and continue to cause problems in the tribal areas. Yesterday 17 Uzbek men without papers were arrested by Frontier Corps personnel travelling on a bus in Chaghi, Balochistan.
Update: On Tuesday Provincial Information Minister, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, informed the provincial assembly that two of the attackers killed on Saturday at the airport were Chechens and three were Pakistanis. The five men killed in Pawakai on Sunday were from Pakistan, Chechnya, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Dagestan.