ISI colonel, Salim Qari, JeM trainer Maulana Moeen among those killed in Balakot strike
New Delhi, Mar 05: Amidst all the talk about the number of casualties that were caused in the Balakot air strike, there is confirmation that an ISI officer, a trainer of the Jaish-e-Mohammad and a bomb maker involved in the Pulwama attack had been killed.
Since the strike, there have been varying reports about the number of casualties. Some have put the number at 300, while others at 200. The IAF on the other hand said that it does not count the casualties and added that it is the message that matters.
Sources tell OneIndia, Colonel Salim Qari, an ISI officer, Maulana Moeen, a JeM trainer and another involved in the Pulwama attack and been killed. Colonel Qari has been associated with the JeM for several years now. He was handling the Afghanistan and India operations of the outfit.
Former Research and Analysis Wing officer, Amar Bhushan who was part of the team that mapped the Balakot camp 15 years back says that the camp had the capacity of holding 300 terrorists. The argument today that there were no terrorists at the time of the strike is wrong. He also added it is wrong to say that the camp would have been emptied up.
Colonel Qari's killing is a major hit and he was one of the main men in the camp. The killing of Moeen is also significant as he was a key trainer and had even trained those involved in the Pulwama attack. The source however added that they are still ascertaining whether Maulana Yusuf Azhar, the brother in law of Maulana Masood Azhar had been killed in the attack.
Bhushan says that back in the day, Pakistan would announce the names of those killed and also offer public funerals. However they have completely stopped doing that today. Back in the day, we would codify the names of those who died in the Kashmir conflict and issue it. That is when they started believing us. Don't worry about the numbers for now, the names and figures will be out soon, says Amar Bhushan.
Officials also say that they are still analysing the extent of the damage caused by the strike.
Oneindia had reported that India had gathered evidence that four building of the JeM were hit during the strike.
Evidence in the form of satellite imagery have been collected that suggests that the buildings that were identified as targets were hit during the operation. The buildings were hit by five S-2000 precision guided munition that were fired from the Mirage 2000.
Moreover, it has also been learnt that journalists were selectively allowed around the area. No journalist was allowed inside the facility that was struck, Indian officials say.
India on the other hand says that it has evidence in the form of Synthetic Aperture Radar suggesting that the four buildings that were selected as targets were hit. An official tells OneIndia that the JeM facility was not accessible by anyone in the vicinity.
Officials also said that the strike was not aimed at causing any civilian damage. It was a precise hit and the S-2000 is extremely accurate and is also jammer proof. The evidence gathered is under classified category and it is now entirely up to the government to release the proof or not, an official explained.