Taliban claims responsibility for attack on Pakistani airport

 

The Pakistani Taliban is claiming responsibility Monday for an attack on Pakistan's largest international airport that left 29 people dead.

The attack at the Karachi airport “was a response to the recent attacks by the government,” a Taliban spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, told The New York Times by phone. “We will continue carrying out such attacks.”

The Taliban official clarified, however, that the group still wants to kick start peace talks with the Pakistani government.

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Groups of gunmen made it past security checkpoints at the airport when the attack began late Sunday. They hurled grenades and shot automatic weapons. 

Three of the attackers killed themselves by detonating suicide jackets, and seven were killed by Pakistani security forces. A Pakistani official told reporters that 19 other people died in the attack, according to the Times’s report.

The deadly attack comes just more than a week after the Taliban released Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after holding him captive for almost five years. In exchange, five Taliban prisoners were released from Guantánamo Bay and sent to Qatar for one year. 

Bergdahl was held by the Haqqani network, a branch of the Taliban, and was believed to be taken into Pakistan and held there.