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Shamsi, Pakistan

The small Shamsi airstrip is located near the bleak town of Washki in southwestern Pakistan, near the convergence of the borders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. On 20 October 2001 Pakistan agreed to allow American forces to use Shamsi, which had been built for wealthy Saudi sheiks who indulged in falconry there. The airfield, believed to be used by only a few Special Operations units, is about 50 miles from the Afghan border.

In early November 2001 it was reported that a Pakistani shepherd had found about 50 unexploded US cluster bombs in a mountainous area 70 kilometers east of Kharan, in Pakistan's southern province of Baluchistan. The remoted area is about 100 kilometers south of the Afghan border, and in the general vicinity of the Dalbandin and Shamsi airbases.

In late December 2001, Pakistan notified the US that the bases at Jacobabad and Pasni might be needed by the Pakistani Air Force, in the wake of rising tensions between India and Pakistan. The facilities were partially reclaimed by Pakistan, and as of early January 2002 both Pakistani and American forces were operating at the two airfields. The US military retained exclusive use of the Dalbandin and Shamsi bases.

On 09 January 2002 a KC-130 tanker on a supply run from Jacobabad crashed on approach the Marine forward operating base at Shamsi. The aircraft was loaded with fuel whenit hit a ridgeline near the runway, causing it to explode and killing all seven Marines on board.



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