Assessment of terrorist casualties is ‘purely speculative’. The buildings were in the campus of the madrasa run by Jaish which is located on the same ridge line as the hilltop, a few hundred metres to the east.
When the Indian Air Force (IAF) struck the Jaish-e-Mohammad training camp at Balakot on Monday-Tuesday night, it hit the four buildings it had targeted inside the campus of Madrasa Taleem-ul-Quran, top government sources
They said that limitations of technical intelligence and lack of ground intelligence at this point make any assessment of terrorists killed in the attack “purely speculative”.
Sources said that intelligence agencies have evidence, in the form of imagery from Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), showing that the four buildings, identified as targets, were hit by five S-2000 precision-guided munition (PGM) fired from IAF’s Mirage-2000 fighter jets.
The buildings were in the campus of the madrasa run by Jaish which is located on the same ridge line as the hilltop, a few hundred metres to the east.
Why did the Pakistan Army seal the madrasa after the strike? Why did it not allow journalists to visit the madrasa? We have evidence in the form of SAR imagery to show that a building used as a guest house, where brother of Maulana Masood Azhar used to stay; an L-shaped building where trainers used to stay; a double-storied building used to house students entering the seminary and another building where those undergoing final combat training used to stay, were hit by the bombs
‘It is for the political leadership to decide if it wants to release that imagery and make public what is a ‘classified’ capability. The SAR images are not as clear as satellite pictures and we couldn’t get a good satellite picture on Tuesday because of heavy clouds. That would have settled the debate,” the official added.
The madrasa was selected carefully as it was in the middle of nowhere and there was little chance of any civilian casualties. Intelligence given to the IAF was accurate and timely,” the official said.
He also said that the buildings were targeted by the IAF’s Israeli bombs. These are not meant to destroy the building but only to cause damage after they enter a building.
A military official explained that the S-2000 is a highly accurate, jammer-proof bomb which works precisely even under heavy cloud cover.
It first penetrates through the roof, then enters the building and explodes after a delay. It is meant to hit the command and control centres and does not destroy the building. The software has to be programmed with the type of roof – its thickness, material of construction etc. – and that, accordingly, sets the delay period for the PGM.”
The government official said that these buildings had roofs made of corrugated galvanized iron (CGI) sheets and the SAR imagery shows that on the first day, these roofs had gone missing.
These CGI roofs were repaired after two days, making it difficult to assess the full damage by technical intelligence, he added.
As Pakistan Army has tightly controlled access to the madrassa, there is a lack of human intelligence from the ground to give an accurate picture of total damage and number of terrorists killed in the air strike.
“The whole place has been sealed off by Pakistan Army. We have not been able to get any reliable intelligence inputs and any figures of terrorists killed in the airstrike is purely speculative,” the official added.