These may be two seemingly conflicting points of view on the effects of the Indian Air Force’s strike on the Jaish-e-Mohammed’s Balakot facility, but both may be right. Piecing these versions together through a maze of fake news and plausible deniability on both sides of the border suggests the IAF did hit targets with reasonable accuracy, but from within our side of the Line of Control.
The characteristic of the smart Israeli Spice 2000 bombs is such that it doesn’t rip targeted buildings apart, but enters through the roof and creates mayhem with an implosion inside. News reports claiming some of the target buildings being intact from satellite images could be as true as the IAF’s high-resolution pictures given to the government to establish its efficacy in bombing targets with strategic precision, rather than the shock and awe of conventional explosive payloads.
Piecing together the authentic sounding report of at least one boy in the seminary, who talked of huge explosions at night and being whisked away from the compound in the morning by the military, it is possible to surmise that more happened from the IAF strike than Pakistan admits. While the clamour for proof in the form of dead bodies is unlikely to be satisfied as the Pakistan Army probably sanitised the bombed area in hours, it’s best to believe the IAF carried out its given tasks with precision based on intelligence inputs available with NTRO, revealing the presence of 300 active cellphones around the target area.
There is even an eyewitness account from local villagers of victims who were more alive than trees. There may, however, be more room for doubt in the absence of certainties in a war-like situation. It would be ideal not to politicise these doubts....