Taliban militants disguised as security forces stormed Pakistan's busiest airport on Sunday and at least 27 people were killed in a night-long battle at one of the country's most high-profile targets.
The assault on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan's sprawling commercial hub of 18 million people, all but destroys prospects for peace talks between the Taliban and the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who came to power last year promising to find a negotiated solution to years of violence.
It also deals a heavy blow to Sharif's efforts to attract more foreign investors to revive economic growth and raises questions about security at the country's key installations.
The attack began just before midnight when 10 gunmen wearing military uniforms shot their way into the airport's old terminal used mainly for charter and executive flights.
Gun battles raged through the night until security forces regained control of the airport at dawn. Passengers were evacuated and all flights were diverted.
The Pakistani Taliban, an alliance of insurgent groups fighting to topple the government and set up a sharia state, claimed responsibility, saying it was in response to army attacks on their strongholds along the Afghan border.
"It is a message to the Pakistan government that we are still alive to react over the killings of innocent people in bomb attacks on their villages," said Shahidullah Shahid, a Taliban spokesman.