Posted by M Zafar Iqbal
The United States (US) is preparing to accede to Pakistani demands that it vacate a remote air base in Pakistan used for drone flights, but the move is not expected to have a significant impact on operations against militants, US government sources said late on Tuesday.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik had claimed on Tuesday that Washington was sent notices to vacate the narrow strip located in Balochistan following a deadly Nato attack on a Pakistani military outpost last weekend that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers near the Afghanistan border.
Earlier Pakistan, in a Cabinet Defence committee meeting had decided to ask US to leave Shamsi Air Base within 15 days and blocked ground supply routes through Pakistan to US forces in Afghanistan.
Three sources, who declined to be identified because of the issue’s sensitivity, said US planning was under way to leave the base.
The cross-border incident escalated tensions between the two countries and the US military is conducting an investigation to find out exactly what happened on the ground. The moves by the Pakistanis to block ground supply routes and the air base were not expected to significantly hinder US operations.