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Pakistan Boots U.S. From Drone Base

by John Reed on June 30, 2011

Speaking of drones, this is pretty interesting. Apparently, Pakistan has told the U.S. to abandon a secret desert base inside Pakistan that CIA drones fly out of. This is no doubt more fallout of the May 1 raid that killed Osama bin Laden and we’ve been waiting for something like this to happen for a while.

From AFP:

Pakistan told the U.S. to leave a remote desert air base reportedly used as a hub for covert CIA drone attacks, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar was quoted by state media as saying June 29.

His remarks are the latest indication of Pakistan attempting to limit U.S. activities since a clandestine American military raid killed Osama bin Laden on May 2 and plunged ties between the anti-terror allies into chaos.

“We have told (U.S. officials) to leave the air base,” national news agency APP quoted Mukhtar as telling a group of journalists in his office.

Images said to be of U.S. Predator drones at Shamsi have been published by Google Earth in the past. The air strip is 560 miles southwest of Islamabad in Baluchistan province.

A U.S. Embassy spokeswoman told AFP there were no U.S. military personnel at the Shamsi base.

This last line may be the key to seeing that this is simply political theater on Pakistan’s behalf. The very next sentence indicates that Pakistan is demanding the U.S. leave a base that it has already evacuated.

CNN reported in April that U.S. military personnel had left the base, said to be a key hub for American drone operations, in the fallout over public killings by a CIA contractor in Lahore and his subsequent detention.

So we left one, fairly small, base in the middle of nowhere. However, U.S. personnel are have been rumored to be operating out of at least two other Pakistani air bases including one near Ghazi and another at Jacocobad known as PAF Base Shahbaz.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim June 30, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I'd say we leave and take our billions of USD worth of aid with us. Pakistan should be treated like a terrorist state and dealt with accordingly. Unfortunately, they have nukes so we can't sit by and watch them fall into the hands of the likes of Taliban. Either way, this relationship isn't working out.

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Dan June 30, 2011 at 5:49 pm

I thnk thats what everyone would like to do. But again we need to be careful in handling this as well. If we just get up and leave,whats to stop them from covertly giving Al qaueda a nuke? We need time for our tier one guyys to do their thing and make contingency plans in case sh** hits the fan

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marvel June 30, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Don't forget about Jalalabad air base, which is closer to North Waziristan than Shamsi. Although, operating out of Jalalabad might compromise the whole "covert" aspect of these operations.

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Stephen N Russell June 30, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Fly from Qatar? UAE? to Pakistan etc area??
Use carrier for drones???

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blight June 30, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Longer flight times mean reduced loiter time. Carriers might be a maybe, but that's risking a flat-top with 5,000 sailors, plus a powerful escort group within range of Iran or Pakistan.

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Chops June 30, 2011 at 9:07 pm

They'll keep on antagonising us because they are now busy cozying up to China.

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OliSki July 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Your either with us or against us as for as terrorrism goes. And if we think there with us were only fooling ourselves. Majority rules and if most pakistans feel they have the inheren’t right for there fighters to encroach on other countries territories then in principal other countries have that same right. You just can’t have people from other countries terrorizing other countries and using a poor excuse that we can’t control the situation. If you can’t we will or it’s just all out war with Pakistan and embargoes. Let’s not fool ourselves where the cancer is growing and pacify them. I don’t want war and it’s a terrible thing but when someone brings what do you do capitulate.

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icedrake July 1, 2011 at 6:16 pm

I feel that DT may be correctly identifying the key sentence, but for the wrong reasons.
Read it again, with the added emphasis

"A U.S. Embassy spokeswoman told AFP there were no U.S. >>military<< personnel at the Shamsi base."

CIA operatives aren't military personnel.

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khan July 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm

lets go to a war and see what happened. nuke each other see who survive at the end of the day.

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blight July 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Good old cold war days, then? We are learning from Soviet successes of getting locals to do their fighting and dying with small teams of advisors/technicians.

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Guest February 28, 2013 at 11:33 am

Byron, tinsta allons, TINSTA ALLONS! If ALLONS, then cats bark, and dogs meow!

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