US to use Afghanistan as base of drone attacks in Pakistan

PTI

US is shifting its terror-killer drones from Pakistan to Afghanistan after Islamabad asked it to shut down UAV bases on its territory, but America has vowed to continue hitting militants based in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Pakistan has asked CIA to remove its personnel from the Shamsi airbase, about 350 km southwest of Baluchistan’s capital Quetta, where some of the drones are based, ‘New York Times’ reported quoting senior American officials.

“The withdrawal has not occurred but is expected soon,” the official said adding that the drone attacks would then be flown out of Afghanistan where some of them are already based.

But even after shifting, the Predators and Reapers, top US military commander, Admiral Mike Mullen, in a private meeting in Islamabad last week told Pakistan’s powerful army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani that CIA would not reduce the drone strikes until Pakistan launched a military operation against the Haqqani network in North Waziristan.

As tensions mount between the two nations, ‘The Times’ said the appointment of General David H Petraeus as America’s top spy chief could further inflame relations as Pakistan military does not regard him as a “friend”.

The usually secretive Kayani, has made little secret of his distaste for Petraeus, calling him a political general.

Petraeus has privately expressed outrage at what American officials say is the Pakistani main spy agency’s most blatant support yet for fighters based in Pakistan who are carrying out attacks against American troops in Afghanistan.

Repairing the frayed ties between the CIA and Pakistan’s military-run agency, ISI, will be difficult, American officials say.

“In its current form, the relationship is almost unworkable,” said Dennis C Blair, a former American director of national intelligence. “There has to be a major restructuring. The ISI jams the CIA all it wants and pays no penalties.”

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Posted by pilotpaul on Apr 30 2011. Filed under All News, World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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