US troops still operating from Pak’s Shamsi airbase
London: US troops are still using the Shamsi airbase in Balochistan, from where they have been operating since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan.
“The Shamsi airbase in Balochistan is still being used by US forces,” The Dawn quoted a Pakistani official, as saying.
He added that Americans had vacated all the airbases near Jacobabad, Pasni and Dalbandin “a long time ago”.
The US special forces used the airbase in 2001 during the invasion of Afghanistan, but in 2006 the government of Pakistan said that they had left and since then both Islamabad and Washington have been saying that the Americans were not using any base in Pakistan.
Some Pakistani experts have warned that the US wants to continue using the Shamsi airbase for a long time.
They urged the Pakistan government to ask the US to vacate the strategically located base - particularly after reports surfaced that Washington wants to expand the area of drone attacks into Balochistan.
Sources said the Shahbaz airbase near Jacobabad, about 480kms north of Karachi, was the last base vacated by US forces.
Following the US decision to attack Afghanistan, hundreds of US soldiers were housed in hangars at the airbase.
In December 2001, Pakistan allowed a US request for a long-term presence at Jacobabad and permitted US Marines to renovate the base and build a concrete hangar for 50 large planes and air-conditioned barracks for troops.
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