In a further blow to the credibility of a Foreign Policy report which claimed that American defence personnel had done a count of Pakistan’s F-16 aircraft and found none missing, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) has issued a statement that it was “not aware” of any such probe which was launched to determine if one of Pakistan’s F-16s had been shot down, reports Hindustan Times.
The report by Foreign Policy had cited two unnamed defence officials as its source for the information that American authorities had conducted a count of Pakistan’s F-16 inventory.
A spokesperson of the DoD said that they “weren’t aware of any investigation like that”. This statement is at complete odds with the report’s narrative of a supposed probe being undertaken by American personnel.
The DoD also restated America’s changed stance on defence cooperation with Pakistan. “It is important to note that since January 2018, the United States government has suspended security assistance to Pakistan,” the spokesperson said.
The matter stems from a dogfight which took place in the aftermath of the Balakot air strike, when Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets had crossed the line of control (LoC) and were then engaged by Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft while being chased back.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian government had officially stated in the aftermath of the clash that one Pakistani F-16 was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman before his own Mig-21 Bison went down to enemy fire.
Pakistan denied the Indian claim and maintained that it did not lose any of its F-16s. The country went as far as to deny that it had even used any of its F-16s in the intrusion. This claim was already punctured when the Indian side presented pieces of an AMRAAM medium-range missile fired from an F-16.
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