Nine militants from Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan (TJP), an alleged offshoot of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), launched an attack on the MM Alam airbase in Mianwali on Saturday (4 November).
In response to the attack, Pakistan's military public relations wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) swiftly issued a clarification, asserting that no significant damage had occurred.
The ISPR stated, "No damage has been done to any of the PAF's functional operational assets, while only some damage was done to three already phased-out non-operational aircraft during the attack."
However, an analysis of open-source satellite imagery conducted by India Today suggests the possibility of more extensive damage than officially acknowledged by the authorities.
High-resolution satellite images obtained from the US-based space firm Planet Labs PBC, captured on 24 October and 4 November, reveal clear indications of damage to the operational sheds at the base on the day of the attack.
According to the report, "Given the size of these structures, a significantly powerful explosion beneath them would be necessary to cause such visible roof damage, posing an increased risk to the aircraft stored inside."
These visual signs do not align with the military's clarification.
While the ISPR stressed limited damage to what they referred to as unimportant assets, specifically mentioning "only some damage was done to three already phased-out non-operational aircraft," it is worth noting that the area designated for such non-operational assets appears to be located approximately 1.5 kilometres southward from the impact site depicted in the imagery.
Additionally, archival video footage of the base contradicts this claim, showing these sheds being used to house operational aircraft in the past.
The MM Alam airbase, designated as No. 37 for Combat Training, accommodates several of the Pakistan Air Force's trainer, fighter, and ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) aircraft.
These include, among others, the K-8P (trainer), Chengdu J-7 (F-7), Alouette III helicopters, and the unmanned aerial vehicles Wing Loong II. Following the attack, PAF Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu, visited the base.
Additionally, another report from The Print also claims that the loss is of 14 aircraft and approximately 35 military personnel. These figures, however, cannot be independently verified.
Ayesha Siddiqa, a well-known Pakistan watcher, states in The Print's report that according to her sources, the PAF and ISPR are hiding information, and the actual loss is 14 aircraft and 35 military personnel.
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