Monday, December 12, 2011

CIA Vacates Pakistan Drone Base | US Drone in Iran

The CIA has vacated the Shamsi air base in western Pakistan. The base has been used to help coordinate the CIA (not-too-secret) drone war in Pakistan's tribal areas. Attacks from the base have been reduced since the targeted killing of Osama Bin Laden in May with the US increasing striking from bases in Afghanistan.

The government of Pakistan demanded the removal of the CIA after a cross border attack killed 25 soldiers.

“...[a] senior American counterterrorism official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the drone operations at Shamsi were classified, said that vacating the base would not end American counterterrorism operations in Pakistan. “The United States retains robust capabilities to fight Al Qaeda and its militant allies,” the official said. “Our operations will continue.”"

Pakistan responded on Sunday saying they will shot down US drones flying in their air space.

Also last week a drone called the ‘Beast of Kandahar’ crashed in Iran. It was flying out of an air base in Herat with sensitive sniffing sensors to monitor Iran nuclear program.

The government of Iran has formally complained to the Afghan Ambassador about the US drone.
KABUL, Afghanistan — The Iranian Foreign Ministry expressed its displeasure to Afghanistan’s ambassador to Iran over an American drone aircraft that Iran says flew deep into its airspace and crashed last week, a spokesman for the Afghan Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

According to Afghan officials, the drone was flown from the American and Afghan base at Shindand in western Herat Province. American officials have acknowledged the loss of an RQ-170, a C.I.A. stealth drone made by Lockheed Martin and designed to fly covert missions and collect information in hostile territory, but have declined to confirm or deny that it is the plane that Iran says it recovered.

A critical issue in the negotiations for a strategic partnership between the US and Afghanistan is the Afghan demand that their territory not be used by foreign powers to attack its neighbors.

The strategic agreement is envisioned to provide the framework for US troops to stay in the country beyond 2014 and to have control of military bases.

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Afghanistan 101 is a blog of the American Friends Service Committee
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