A terrorist attack that blew up a major transmission line connected to the Pakistani national grid plunged more than 140 million people into darkness before power was restored.
The blackout affected more than 80 percent of the country’s population and all public services in all the major cities, including the capital, Islamabad. It was the third such attack in two weeks.
The success of the attack was due largely to strain on Pakistan’s antiquated grid. The network was operating at or near maximum capacity and was very vulnerable to collapse and attack.
It’s believed that the attack will prompt more attacks on the grid as other groups attempt to replicate the success.
“When an attack this simple and inexpensive yields outsized result, said a local source, “other groups will copy it.”
The attack prompted U.S. experts to warn that terrorist cells and “lone wolves” in the United States could cause similar damage to our vulnerable national electric-grid system.
April 2013: Unknown assailants attacked the grid system in San Jose, California. In the attack, 17 transformers that supply electricity to the Silicon Valley were knocked out by firing 100 rounds of AK-47 rounds into 17 transformers, and cutting emergency 911 fiber optic lines.
October 2013: The Mexican drug cartel, the Knights Templar, blacked out an entire Mexican state of 11 towns to enable drug lords to send a message to law enforcement that they were in charge.
June 2014: Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, (AQAP), attacked power lines in the central province of Marib in Yemen, knocking out the country’s entire national power grid and leaving services such as gas stations and other services without power.