As nine militants from Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan (TJP), an alleged offshoot of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), attacked the MM Alam airbase in Mianwali on Saturday, Pakistan’s military public relations wing was quick to issue a clarification, claiming that no substantial harm had been done.
However, analysis of open-source satellite imagery suggests the likelihood of more damage than officially acknowledged by the authorities. Two sets of high-resolution satellite pictures taken on October 24 and November 4 show clear signs of damage to the operational sheds at the base on the day of the attack. These structures are of substantial size, indicating that a powerful explosion would have been required to cause visible roof damage, posing a risk to the aircraft stored inside.
Contrary to the military’s claim of limited damage to unimportant assets, the designated area for non-operational assets appears to be located approximately 1.5 kilometers southward from the impact site depicted in the imagery. Archival video footage of the base also contradicts this claim, showing these sheds being used to house operational aircraft in the past.
The Mianwali Airbase, designated as No. 37 for Combat Training, is home to several trainer, fighter, and ISR aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). This includes the K-8P trainer, Chengdu J-7 (F-7) fighter aircraft, Alouette III helicopters, and others. The base also hosts the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Wing Loong II.
As Pakistan’s relationship with the ruling Afghan Taliban deteriorates, terrorism-related incidents within Pakistan are on the rise. Initially perceived as a victory, the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan has had repercussions for Pakistan, leading to the termination of a ceasefire by the Pakistan Taliban. These attacks on military installations highlight a lack of transparency on the part of the military, further exacerbating the existing issue.