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Pak Army partially takes over Shamsi airbase in Balochistan used for US drone strikes

Islamabad, Sun, 17 Jul 2011 ANI

Islamabad, July 17 (ANI): The Pakistan Army has reportedly taken control of the Shamsi airbase, which was being used by US forces for operating and launching drone attacks.


The matter now remains between Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, who used the base for hunting the Houbara Bustard, a desert animal since 1992.


"Issue of Shamsi remains between Pakistan and the UAE. A dialogue at civil and military level will shortly take place between the two countries," The Nation quoted sources, as saying.


The CIA has reportedly shifted its drone operations to Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, The Nation reports.


"At this time no US national is present at the Shamsi base located in Kharan near Chaghai where Pakistan had tested its nuclear capability way back in May 1998," Defense Minister Ch Ahmad Mukhtar had said on June 30 Pakistan had leased Shamsi airbase to United Arab Emirates in 1992. In global war against terrorism, the UAE handed over operational control of the base to the US," he added.


In May, a top air force official informed the Pakistani Parliament that the Americans were launching drone attacks from the Shamsi air base, which according to an agreement was under UAE's control.


The Shamsi airfield - mainly a sand strip with no control tower, is located in Balochistan. The Musharraf regime had allowed the US forces to use Shamsi as a "rescue" facility for the American troops mostly lifted from US naval ship to Afghanistan by Chinook helicopters after US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.(ANI)


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