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Dalbandin, Pakistan
2852'41.15"N 6424'12.54"E

The airfield at Dalbandin is one of three Pakistani bases used by US and allied forces to support the Operation Enduring Freedom campaign in Afghanistan. The other bases at Jacobabad and Pasni are far more distant from the Afghan border, and are used for logistical support. The Dalbandin base is is relatively remote, but is in a province where many Pakistanis share ethnic and religious kinship with the Taliban.

On 18 October 2001 US special forces attacked two separate targets in southern Afghanistanan. More than 100 Army Rangers and other US special forces attacked two separate Taleban and terrorist command and control targets in southern Afghanistan - one an unidentified airfield, the other a residence near Kandahar used by Taleban leader Mullah Omar. Two US military personnel were killed and three others injured in a helicopter accident in Pakistan that was part of a support operation for the raid. The search-and-rescue Black Hawk helicopter crashed into a sand dune near the perimeter of the airfield in Dalbandin.

Dalbandin was used as a forward refueling base for US Special Operations helicopters operating in Afghanistan.

In early November 2001 it was reported that a Pakistani shepherd had found about 50 unexploded US cluster bombs in a mountainous area 70 kilometers east of Kharan, in Pakistan's southern province of Baluchistan. The remoted area is about 100 kilometers south of the Afghan border, and near the Dalbandin and Shamsi airbases.

In late December 2001, Pakistan notified the US that the bases at Jacobabad and Pasni might be needed by the Pakistani Air Force, in the wake of rising tensions between India and Pakistan. The facilities were partially reclaimed by Pakistan, and as of early January 2002 both Pakistani and American forces were operating at the two airfields. The US military retained exclusive use of the Dalbandin and Shamsi bases.

By March 2004 there were reports increased US operations in Pakistan. Two air bases -- Dalbandin and Shahbaz -- were the focus for extensive movements to provide logistical support for special forces and intelligence operations.

When Pakistan's nuclear tests were conducted in 1998, two names gained prominence: Chaghai Mountain and the airstrip of Dalbandin. Dalbandin is located among sand dunes some 30 km south of the Chagai Hills near the Afghan border. Pakistan's nuclear tests were conducted inside a mountain range near the border with Iran and Afghanistan. The Ras Koh mountains, the site of Pakistan's nuclear test, are south of Dalbandin. On 19 June 1998 Prime Minister Nawaz sharif visited the nuclear test site in Pakistan's rugged southwestern Balochistan province. Before arriving at the test site, Prime Minister Sharif addressed a cheering crowd in the nearby village of Dalbandin.

Dalbandin airstrip was constructed in 1935 to serve as a satellite of Samungli Air Base at Quetta. During the Second World War, it was made operationally ready by RAF to meet a possible Russian invasion through Iran. In the 1970s Dalbandin was a disused airfield. Although the airstrip is visible from high altitude, pilots making a landing approach sometimes found that the airstrip disappears, with sand dunes and sand collected on the runway obscuring it from view. Dust storms are frequent and cause delays in getting airborne.

The airfield was taken over by the Civil Aviation Administraiton [CAA] in 1985, it received a face lift, which provided modern navigational aids, air traffic control facilities, passenger terminals and a paved runway. There is regularly scheduled Pakistan International Airlines service to the airport. While not a military facility, this airfield is available to the Pakistan Air Force for emergency landing and recovery of aircraft during peacetime and wartime.

The RCD Highway route connects Pakistan with Iran and Turkey. It enters Pakistan at Taftan at the Pakistan-Iran border in the province of Balochistan, and goes via Dalbandin, Nushki, Quetta, Kalat, Khuzdar and Bela on to Karachi. It is 5,174 kms long.

Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan with an area of 347,056 sq. Km, over 40% of the country's land mass. It consist of arid basins and various hill ranges, sharply marked off from the Indus plain by the kirther and sulaiman ramparts. It exhibits a great variety of physical features, consisting of vast rocky desert with extremes of climate and very low rainfall.

The majority of the people are involved directly or indirectly in agricultural and livestock production. The informal and mining sectors are also important sectors of the economy. By 2000 Balochistan was facing a famine, due to the lack of rainfall for three three years. The relief camps in Noshki, Nokundi and Dalbandin faced a shortage of food and medicines.

The important places in Chaghai District in Balochistan are Nushki, Taftan, Dalbandin, Nokkundi, Saindak, Shrine of Sher Jan Agha and Ziarat Bala Nosh.

The U.A.E. president Sheikh Zayed has constructed a beautiful grand mosque on RCD high way near Dalbandin in Baluchistan. The Imams and moazzins have been appointed by H.H Sheikh Zayed.

Dalbandin, Pakistan
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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:46:37 ZULU