But the Drones: They fly from Bandari – Baluchistan

 

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By A Khokar   09 April 2009

Pakistan’s Foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi in a recent joint press conference with the special envoy to the region, Richard C. Holbrooke and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen at his side,  said: “We did talk about drones, and let me be very frank: there is a gap between us.” He added, “The bottom line is the question of trust.”

At this news conference at the Foreign Ministry, Mr. Qureshi raised his voice to admonish the two Americans. “The terms of engagement are very clear,” he said. “We will engage with mutual trust and mutual respect, and that is the bottom line.”

He added: “We can only work together if we respect each other and trust each other. There is no other way and nothing else will work.”

On the other hand Obama administration officials have said there will be “no blank check for Pakistan.” In response, Mr. Qureshi said Pakistan would “neither accept nor give one.”

Above excerpts from a press conference of US envoys and Pakistani foreign minister show a very strong stance and a tough line taken by the Pakistan’s government. Previously Pakistan is always seen giving a very apologetic outlook in such like press conferences. There seems to be a big change in Pakistan’s foreign policy and especially about the Drones attack issue that public is so weary of. Hundreds of innocent people have been targeted aimlessly and killed including women and children under the pretext of engaging the Al Qaeda fugitives and operatives sheltering in FATA area.

But question arises that there are glaring evidences that these Drones are flown from an isolated but state of the art US built Airport situated some 80 kilometre south of Kharan in Baluchistan called Bandari. What all Mr Mahood shah Qureshi has to say about that?

Available data about Bandari Drones Airport is as follow:

  •      Google Earth map coordinates of Bandari aero drum are 27.5N and 65.10 E and this station is seen as fully operational. Geogle images are updated about every 6 months.
  •      This is an all weather Aero-drum which is about 28000 feet long with its ground lay out extending from NW to SE.
  •         On its NW end, it has got the operational command Headquarters and other service buildings with a huge igloo shaped hanger built, which can accommodate number of drones inside. Reportedly this hanger was built in 2006. Other Google earth satellites picture shows 3 drone Predators MQ1 standing on the tarmac when this hanger was not built.
  •   There is a good net work of other service roads around this aero-drum.
  •         In the south of aero-drum at a distance of about a kilometer there is a well secured living compound. This compound has two parts divided into a living quarters and an open ground with Vegetable growing garden in it. The lay out shows that seemingly it has got all the possible civic amenities including sport and leisure set ups. A large flat roof single storey building is the accommodation area presumably fully air conditioned. The large open area within compound is  allocated for play ground and for growing of vegetables. Vegetable being grown in its green beds are very much visible.
  •         There are yet other two walled compound built with green orchards in them in the north west of aero-drum. These can be seen connected to Aero-drum by well beaten tracks. Possibly there are tube wells for water and to grow vegetables or fresh fruits etc.
  •         Numbers of service vehicles are also visible on the tarmac and in the airport services area in between Aero -drum and Living compound.

Bandari is situated some 5-7 kilometer in the west from Basima town which is located on the Kalat-Surab-Basima- Panjgur Road. Road from Kharan also links up this road in between Surab and Basima. But there is no link to Bandari from Basima as a high mountain range running north- south falls in between, and conceal and isolates Bandari from Basima. Bandari is connected by a long road coming off from Kharan-Basima road up in the north. Bandari link road is an A Class road.

 Aerial photographs with above said details are given below:

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 Images: Bandari airport   drone-airport-bandari-2a

 Images: Bandari airport  drones-bandari-airport-living-area-2b