Saturday Nov 26, 201107:40 PM GMT
Pakistan orders US vacate Shamsi drone base
Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:39PM
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Pakistan ordered a review of all arrangements with the United States and NATO, including diplomatic, political, military and intelligence activities, following a deadly cross-border strike.

 

The decision was taken at an extraordinary meeting of senior cabinet ministers and military chiefs chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, his office said, after Pakistan said up to 26 soldiers were killed in the strike.

 

The defense committee of cabinet (DCC) upheld the closure of the Afghan border to NATO supply trucks, implemented earlier Saturday, and demanded that the United States vacate a remote desert air base reportedly used as a hub for covert CIA drone strikes on Pakistan's border areas with Afghanistan.

 

"The DCC decided to close with immediate effect the NATO/ISAF (NATO force in Afghanistan) logistics supply lines. The DCC also decided to ask the U.S. to vacate the Shamsi air base within 15 days," said the prime minister's office.

 

"The DCC decided that the government will revisit and undertake a complete review of all programs, activities and cooperative arrangements with U.S./NATO/ISAF, including diplomatic, political, military and intelligence."

 

In June, Pakistan also told the United States to leave Shamsi, as Islamabad sought to limit U.S. activities after a clandestine American raid killed Osama bin Laden on May 2 near the capital Islamabad.

 

The U.S. embassy, which was not immediately reachable for comment on Saturday, has previously said there were no U.S. military personnel at Shamsi.

 

FACTS & FIGURES

The Shamsi air base has been the source of CIA drone strikes across Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Antiwar

 

The Guardian on December 11, 2009, quoted an unnamed ex U.S. official as saying that Blackwater was operating at a secret CIA air base, Shamsi Air Base in Baluchistan which is a key element in the CIA coordinated missile strikes. Guardian

 

The airstrip is 560 miles (900 km) southwest of the capital Islamabad in Baluchistan province. AFP

 

Washington has not publicly acknowledged operations at the base, but images said to be of U.S. Predator drones at Shamsi have been published by Google Earth in the past. AFP

 

According to Pakistani sources, U.S. drone strikes kill some 50 civilians for every militant killed, a hit rate of 2 percent. NYT

 

HJ/DB

 

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