Pakistan News: US’s Exit From Pakistan Airbase
December 12, 2011 by staff
Pakistan News: US’s Exit From Pakistan Airbase, The US today vacated the Shamsi airbase in southwestern Pakistan two weeks after a Nato air strike on two Pakistani military checkposts in a rugged tribal region killed 24 soldiers.
Pakistan had asked the US to vacate the base, which it had been using for drone operations since 2004 three years after Islamabad had joined the US-led war on terror that dislodged the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2001.
Pakistan had handed over the Shamsi airbase to the UAE in 1992 for hunting expeditions but its authorities sublet it to the US for carrying out drone attacks.
“The last flight carrying leftover US personnel and equipment departed Shamsi base today and the base has been completely vacated,” the military said in a statement.
It added that the control of the base had been taken over by the Pakistan army.
It was reported that the civil aviation authority and the paramilitary Frontier Corps personnel had taken control of the base. Pakistani security forces also removed the US flag and waved the national flag at the base.
According to security sources, drones, military hardware and 71 US soldiers have been moved from Shamsi airbase to Afghanistan.
The UAE enjoys strong influence in Islamabad’s corridors of power. President Asif Ali Zardari and all previous Pakistani civilian and military leaders have been very close to the UAE’s royal family. WikiLeaks last year confirmed that perception.
Pakistan has deployed 2,500 security personnel at the Shamsi airbase. It had served a 15-day notice to the US to vacate the air strip, located some 300km south of Quetta.
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