ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on Thursday decided to deploy SSG commandos for the protection of its air bases and other installations across Pakistan following a fresh attack on one of its key operational bases.

The decision was made at an emergency meeting here at the Air Headquarters chaired by the Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt hours after terrorists stormed into PAF Minhas Base Kamra. During Thursday’s meeting, reportedly attended by the PAF Director General Air Intelligence Air Vice Marshal Hafeezullah, DG Air Strategic Forces Command AVM Ashfaq Arain, Air Officer Commanding Air Defence AVM Faheem Arshad Lodhi and other senior officers,the air command is said to have decided to deploy PAF’s Special Services Group (SSG) commandos in addition to the personnel of Air Defence Branch for the protection of 17 PAF bases and 18 other installations marked as highly sensitive.

Security officials said, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) had thrice informed the PAF Air Intelligence of security threat concerning the Minhas Base and PAF’s non-flying Kalabagh Base in Galiyat, located in Abbottabad district, but these security alerts were ignored. “The Kalabagh Base, after Abbottabad Operation, is under constant security threat while Minhas Air base was an easy target for terrorist activity because operational preparedness to counter any untoward incident was not up to the mark there,” officials said.

Reportedly, the PAF had enhanced security at its bases in Risalpur, Kohat, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta and Rawalpindi but ignored high security alerts on Minhas and Kalabagh bases.

In January this year, the DG Air Intelligence AVM Hafeezullah had reportedly informed the PAF command of intelligence reports regarding high security threats to the said couple of bases but the PAF command was of the view that sufficient preventive arrangements had already been taken at Minhas base after 2009 attack at the PAC Kamra and additional security measures were not required.

The ISI had shared latest security threat with Air Intelligence last Friday, officials said. “Our job was to pass on sensitive security information to Air Intelligence. The execution rested with the PAF authorities,” the security officials stated.