Indian ‘surgical strike’ in Pakistan a botched operation: US think tank

  • ‘The autonomous nature of the SPICE-2000 adds mystery to why the bombs seemed to miss,” according to an analysis by the Digital Forensics Lab

WASHINGTON – An analysis by the Digital Forensics Lab of a leading US think tank has termed the Indian claimed surgical strike in Pakistan a botched operation.

The report by Michael Sheldon, an analyst at the think tank, stated, “Using open-source evidence and satellite imagery, Digital Forensics Lab was able to confirm the location of the Indian airstrike to be near Balakot, rather than inside it, and firmly within Pakistani territory. The target was supposedly a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)-led madrassa, but Digital Forensics Lab was unable to confirm that any bombs reached buildings associated with it.”

“The SPICE-2000 is a precision-guided bomb that should not miss its target by the approximately 100 metres that the impact craters were from the nearest structures. The autonomous nature of the SPICE-2000 adds mystery to why the bombs seemed to miss. Satellite imagery did not suggest that any damage was inflicted to nearby buildings. Vegetation and low imagery resolution could hypothetically obscure structural damage, but this remains highly improbable. Something appears to have gone wrong in the targeting process?” it added.

Meanwhile, Nathan Ruser, a researcher at Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre, claims that imagery acquired on the morning of February 27 shows “no evidence of damage to the facility or nearby areas is visible on the images”.

He used the vegetation disturbance to claim to have identified “three clear impact areas between 150 and 200 metres from the edge of the facility.”

He also said that it was unlikely that the highly accurate bombs would miss their targets and felt that India was deliberately missing the facility to give a signal to Pakistan.

Relations between India and Pakistan significantly aggravated following Pulwama attack in Kashmir where at least 44 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed.

After the attack, India accused Pakistan of having a “direct hand” in the incident and blamed the neighbouring nation for harbouring and protecting terrorists.

Pakistan had denied its involvement in the attack while Prime Minister Imran Khan has assured India of thorough action if it provides any actionable intelligence.

This was followed by an airstrike by Indian Air Force against what New Delhi said was a camp of JeM, considered a terrorist group by India, and located on the Pakistani soil across the Line of Control.

PAF shoots down two Indian fighter jets inside Pakistani airspace; 1 pilot killed in IoK, another captured alive by troops in AJK

The Pakistani military, in retaliation, shot down two Indian warplanes in the disputed region of Kashmir on Wednesday and also captured alive an Indian pilot Abhinandan, who was released on Friday as a “peace gesture”.