Sunday, December 11, 2011

US vacates Shamsi Airbase in Pakistan

The Pakistani government has taken control of an airbase after it ordered the United States to vacate the airfield following a deadly US-led airstrike against Pakistani troops.

Most of the US military personnel have vacated Shamsi Airbase, which is located in the country's southwest, on Saturday, Pakistan's Geo television reported.

The airbase was used for covert CIA drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions and military operations in Afghanistan for nearly 10 years. Pakistan had previously told the US to leave the site in June.

An American cargo plane is still parked at the airbase to transfer the remaining personnel and equipment, according to the report.

The US has shifted five spy aircraft from Shamsi airbase to Afghanistan. US officials dismantled fiber-made residential barracks which had been built for military personnel.

Last week, Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced that Washington would vacate the Pakistani airbase by Dec. 11.

Pakistan ordered the evacuation after a US-led airstrike killed at least 24 Pakistani soldiers and wounded dozens of others in Pakistan's northwestern region of Mohmand Agency in November.

In reaction to the attack, Islamabad also blocked dozens of trucks carrying goods and fuel supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan and ordered a review of all arrangements with the US and NATO, including diplomatic, political, military and intelligence activities.



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