U.S. Military Activity In Pakistan Spotted Via Google Earth

Posted Feb 21, 2009

[Shamsi airbase in 2006]

[More recent picture of Shamsi]

The U.S. supposedly flew unmanned drone planes from the Shamsi airbase in Pakistan, around the southwestern province of Baluchistan since early 2006.  The image above shows the three Predator drones outside of a hangar on a runway in that vicinity.  The Times UK was able to snag the image before the planes were removed from view on Google Earth.

The CIA secretly uses these plans to observe and attack al-Qaeda and Taliban militants around the Afghanistan and Pakistan border.  The U.S. began to use this runway in 2001, when the U.S. began to invade Afghanistan.  The Pakistani government said that the U.S. left this location in 2006.  Pakistan and the U.S. have kept denying that the CIA is using runways to launch drones.  Pakistan has also demanded that the U.S. government cease using drones on their own tribal area.  This has especially picked up in the last year and has resulted in the killing of many citizens.

The image above also suggests that the U.S. government is launching drones from Shamsi, Kyrgyzstan for falconry purposes.

In the more recent picture of the airbase the drones are not showing, but you will notice that several new buildings have been constructed since the older picture.

Military experts that saw the images believe that the drones are MQ1 Predators that are often used to observe and strike militants at the Afghani border. The MQ1 Predator can carrier two laser-guided Hellfire missiles and can fly for up to about 454 miles at a speed of 135MPH with an altitude of 25,000 ft.

Google Earth, A Security Risk?
Google Earth uses extraordinary technology, but some believe that it can be a security risk.  If any layman can use Google Earth to find military planes, imagine if Taliban used the same software to launch an attack.  To prevent this from happening, the U.S. government asked Google Earth to remove sensitive locations including military bases, nuclear reactors, and other government buildings.

Last year, the government in India reported that terrorists possibly used Google Earth to become familiar with their targets.