Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pakistan orders US to vacate airbase

Source: Press TV

The Pakistani government has ordered the US to vacate an airbase within 15 days following a deadly air strike near the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Islamabad on Saturday ordered Washington to vacate Shamsi, which is a remote desert outpost in southwest Pakistan.

The airbase was reportedly used as a hub for covert CIA drone strikes. Pakistan had previously told the United States to leave the site in June.

The new order to vacate came after a US-led NATO air strike killed at least 28 Pakistani soldiers and wounded 15 others in the Mohmand Agency in northwestern Pakistan early on Saturday.

Pakistan also ordered a review of all arrangements with the US and NATO, including diplomatic, political, military and intelligence activities, AFP reported.

The decision was taken at an extraordinary meeting of senior cabinet ministers and military service chiefs chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who strongly condemned the strike.

Islamabad also summoned US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter to lodge a strong complaint regarding the unprovoked attack.

Activists with Islami Jamiat Tulba, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami party, staged a protest in the northwestern city of Lahore to denounce the killings of soldiers.

NATO confirmed that the attack has left some Pakistani soldiers dead and has launched an investigation into the incident.

In a retaliatory move, the Pakistani government has blocked dozens of trucks carrying goods and fuel supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has repeatedly condemned air strikes against its troops near the border with Afghanistan. While the strikes supposedly target militants, they usually claim the lives of civilians and Pakistani soldiers.

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