First flight arrived in Tashkurgan Khunjerab airport on May.18 2022
Protected underground facilities at the airport in Tashkurgan
Recent high-resolution satellite images by Planet suggest that China is developing underground facilities at the airport in Tashkurgan. Analysis by India Today
confirms the likely dual-use nature of the upcoming airport. Along with the underground facilities, there is construction on other parts of the airbase. Blacktopping of the runways and structure of the terminal area, along with deployment of stone crushing machines, land moving equipment, and construction trucks, is visible in the imagery.
The strategic importance of Tashkurgan
Tashkurgan is near the borders of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Azad Kashmir (Azad Kashmir). China, which has an apparent vested interest in the region as it has heavily invested in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), will have an edge due to the strategic location of the airbase in Tashkurgan. Portrayed as ‘civil purpose or tourist,’ the airport holds more strategic value than the tourist spot given the few Chinese tourists visiting these areas.