A lot has been made of the evidence of how much the damage was of the Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in Jaba top in Balakot, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Pakistan.
Some high shot imagery experts have tried to make their own strange assertions in words which mirror that of Pakistan’s and its ISI. In fact this guy Nathan Ruser, who is Cyber Policy researcher claims that based on satellite images from the morning of 27th, there was no damage to the buildings.
Satellite imagery, acquired by Planet Labs Inc. on the morning of 27 February and accessed by ASPI, calls this claim into question. No evidence of damage to the facility or nearby areas is visible on the images. Local media have visited the site and published photographsof multiple small craters in the vicinity, but they haven’t been granted access to the facility that was reportedly targeted. Satellite imagery, presented and analysed below, provides no apparent evidence of more extensive damage and on the face of it does not validate Indian claims regarding the effect of the strikes.
And for that, he is referring to the photographs by Pakistan’s ISI, whose claim to truth is several notches lower than that of a used car salesman. In fact, any policy expert needs to appreciate that intelligence agencies in a military dictatorship (which does not need much explanation for Pakistan’s situation – specifically for someone who claims to have any knowledge of global geo-politics) should always be parked on one side and believed or brandished factoring in high risk. From the whole narrative on where Osama was, to what happened to Osama – the performance of ISI is all too fresh. But what really stood out in the so-called analysis of this rather eager Australian Strategic Policy Institute Analyst, Ruser, is that he dishes out a claim that is from the script of the ISI as well.
India’s upcoming election placed significant pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to act in retaliation for the Pulwama attack. There was a requirement to balance the domestic desire for a strong response with the risk of a broader military conflict that would be costly for both countries.
Really?! You think that a democratically elected Prime Minister of a country would act as per the caricature of ISI’s spokespersons? To go from a sketchy satellite image to that claim by a so-called policy expert is a rather large leap of faith. Because given how the Indian Government is going about this – very soon this story of “nothing happened” would have been demolished by them and others anyway. Why? Because, given how Pakistan and its proxies in India sing in a chorus about proofs (like during the Surgical Strikes after Uri), this time a Heron drone was sent behind them to take ample pictures as well. Ruser should have checked that out.
In any case, he goes on to show a satellite image with marks showing the buildings were not damaged. Well, that is strange because unless the Pakistanis went ahead and themselves demolished the buildings, the evidence from the satellites available from the Zoom Earth are pretty stark when they are compared with Google Earth, which refreshes its take in a few months.
Now, enough about someone eager to earn some brownie points with the ISI and in a bid to destroy his career with a quick-shooting analysis, which lacks credibility from get go.
Debashish Hota shared an interesting tweet where he shared the coordinates of the buildings and the image from Zoom Earth, which we also dug into. The evidence is all too clear!
Let us look at the two pictures – first from Google Earth (which is dated) and then from Zoom Earth (which takes pictures daily). Look for the roofs and the building walls and structures. You will see the buildings with roofs in the main cluster and those nearby in this picture.
Now let us go to the Zoom Satellite pictures which are taken daily. Again, look for the buildings in the center cluster and also look at those on the side. The ones in the center cluster, which were the main halls are totally destroyed. IN fact you can only see columns standing. The buildings on the side, however, are fine. The roofs are exactly as they were in Google Earth. The destruction was precise, complete (with respect to the target) and devastating. Whoever was there in those cluster of halls/buildings could not have survived such a devastating annihilation of these buildings.
Let us go a bit closer, and the devastation will be all too clear.
Now first the Google Earth.
Now the closer look from a day back of the same buildings from Zoom Earth.
Do you see how complete the destruction is? Now click on the links shared above and check the satellite images out for yourself! Do you still need any proof from “the ground” when the satellites show it to you clearly?!
From the Horses Mouth – Masood Azhar’s Brother Admits
It is often also good to get the proof from the mouth of the one who has been hit as well. So, someone – don’t ask who (wink wink) – actually recorded the speech of Masood Azhar’s brother.
The same audio was also shared by Republic TV journalist Aditya Raj Kaul
One does not need to get it out of them. He says everything that one needs to know. As Postcard reports, this is what he says (also corroborated by the translation by Taha Siddiqui in the tweet above):
He can be heard saying in the clip that by launching an attack on our place where our students were getting trained to understand the concept of Jihad and assist the oppressed Kashmiris India has given us open invitation for starting Jihad against it. He is urging his followers to wage war against India. He says, “The enemy crossed over into Pakistan and launched attacks on our Islamic ‘Markaz’ (Centre). By doing so, the enemy has declared war upon our country.” He adds, “Indian aircraft did not bomb the safe house of any agency or its headquarters or where agency officials held their meetings, they bombed the centre where students were trained to understand the concept of Jihad and assist the oppressed Kashmiris. This is no longer a Jihad of any agency. By attacking our Markaz, India has ensured that we start our Jihad against it.”
Now, let us move to the eye witness account as well.
Eyewitness proof from an Italian Journalist
Francesca Marino is an Italian journalist who writes on South Asian topics. She has written in detail in First Post on the eyewitness accounts from the place.
Marino used encrypted communications to get accounts from local government authorities. And this is what she wrote based on their accounts:
Eyewitnesses present at the site of India’s 26 February bomb strikes against a Jaish-e-Muhammad base say they saw up to 35 bodies being transported out of the the site by ambulance hours after the attack. The dead, they recounted, included 12 men who were said to have been sleeping in a single temporary shack, and several individuals who had earlier served in Pakistan’s military.
She says that by the time the local authorities reached the site, the Army units had already cordoned off the area. And, they took the mobile phones from the medical staff in the ambulances.
As regards who all were killed? Here is some insight:
A former Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officer known locally as “Colonel Salim” was killed in the bombing, sources said, while a “Colonel Zarar Zakri” was injured. Mufti Moeen, a Jaish-e-Muhammad instructor from Peshawar, and improvised explosive device-fabrication expert Usman Ghani were also killed in the bombing.
She further states that a building where 12 Jaish fidayeen trainees were living was flattened! The she says that the total number of terrorists killed as being discussed by India’s Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) said its communications intelligence are around 20. The 300 figure is more by the media.
And then she goes ahead to give a sobering reality check on what the world has achieved in such focused attacks on terror targets. For example that by US on Al-Qaeda’s targeting of those who bombed the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
In 1998, the United States fired 75 cruise missiles at Al-Qaeda’s Zhawar Kili in retaliation of the bombing at the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, but killed only a dozen terrorists or less.
Here Francesca discusses the eyewitness proofs herself.
Given the international norms of success in such targeted attacks, and given how the buildings look in Zoom Earth vs Google Earth, one would be inclined to believe that the dead were more than just 20 and probably less than 400. Anywhere in between is a good estimate.
And as far as the destruction by the bombs is concerned – they flattened a lot more than a few trees and some grass. Satellites comparisons are quite evident.
Three different proofs
So we have shared three different proofs with you. Satellite Before and After, Jaish founder’s brother Maulana Ammar who himself is one of the main JeM leader, admitting in his own speech about the attacks and destruction, and finally the eyewitness accounts.
That should do it, one reckons.
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