Friday, July 01, 2011

U.S. rejects Pakistani demand to vacate Shamsi base

From the Newspaper,  The Dawn, July 1, 2011
 
The Financial Times quoted Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar as saying that Pakistan has already stopped US drone flights from the Shamsi air base.—Reuters photo
 
WASHINGTON / ISLAMABAD: The US is rejecting demands from Pakistan that American personnel abandon a military base used by the CIA to stage drone strikes against militants, US officials told Reuters.

US personnel have not left the Shamsi air base and there is no plan for them to do so, said a US official familiar with the matter. “That base is neither vacated nor being vacated,” the official said. The information was confirmed by a second US official.

On Wednesday, federal Minister for Defence Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said that US had been asked to stop using the base for drone strikes and vacate it.

Relations between the two uneasy allies deteriorated after the May 2 raid by US SEALs in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden.  Wednesday’s statement by Mr Mukhtar was the latest salvo.

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