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CIA, US forces leaves Pakistani base

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, April 22, IRNA -- The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and American troops have vacated a Pakistan air base, which they had been also using for pilotless drone aircraft, local media reported on Friday.

“Pakistan has stopped all the US operations from the Shamsi Air Base in Balochistan, an airport which was given to American forces for use after 9/11 and drone attacks were launched from the base on targets in the tribal areas,” daily The News reported while citing military sources as saying.

It was also used extensively in 2001 when thousands of US sorties took off to bomb Afghanistan a few weeks after the 9/11 attack in New York, according to the report.

As the relations between Islamabad and Washington have strained due to latter’s mounting interference and repeated breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty, the US Embassy spokesman, Alberto Rodriguez, confirmed that there are no US forces at the Shamsi Air Base in Balochistan.

The Pakistan Army sources confirmed that the airfield was free from the American forces, the newspaper reported.

Last year Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar had confirmed that the US forces had been using the airbase for logistical purposes but, he added, the government was not satisfied with payments for the use of the facility.

Mukhtar, however, did not go into the nature of airfield’s use by the American forces.

Prior to Shamsi, Pakistan had also got vacated from the US forces the Jacobabad Air Base and Pasni, which were used for its operations in Afghanistan.

The US has been using the Shamsi Air Base in Balochistan province to station unmanned Predator drones that have been sed to attack terrorist targets inside Pakistan’s tribal areas, The News reported.

Shamsi airfield, also called Bandari, is a small airfield and air station located about 200 miles southwest of Quetta near the town of Washki.

In 2009, media reports revealed that the airfield was used by the CIA as a base for Predator drone attacks on so-called militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas but ended up killing several hundreds innocent people.

On January 9, 2002 a US Marine Corps KC-130 aircraft reportedly crashed on approach to Shamsi.

All seven crew members were killed in the crash.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30350454

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