Pakistan accepts US drones using its airbases, but only for logistical reasonsFebruary 22nd, 2009 - 2:07 pm ICT by ANI
Lahore, Feb.22 (ANI): After a long denial, Pakistan for the first time has officially accepted that the US drones are using airbases present inside its geographical territory.
Pakistan Defense Minister, Ahmad Mukhtar has admitted that the US Predator airplanes operated from Pakistani airbases, but denied that they carried out attacks in the Tribal areas using these launching pads.
US drones have been allowed to land in Pakistan only for logistical reasons, The Dawn quoted Muhktar, as saying.
Mukhtar said that the drone attacks were being carried out from bases in Afghanistan.
Both Washington and Islamabad have regularly denied use of Pakistani airbases by the US drones to carry out attacks on suspected militant outfits along the Pakistan- Afghanistan border. But, a Google Earth image had revealed that Pakistans airbases are indeed being put to such use by the US security forces.
A 2006 Google Earth image of the Shamsi airbase, which is situated 200 miles southwest of Quetta, showed three predator drones outside a hanger at the end of the runway, nailing Paks lie.
The airbase was first utilized by the US led forces during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, and sources said that Pakistans intelligence and military are secretly supporting the US-led unmanned predator attacks on militant hideouts in the tribal regions. (ANI)
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