Pakistan to US: vacate Shamsi airbase by Dec 11

December 1st, 2011 - 12:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, Dec 1 (IANS) Pakistan has set a Dec 11 deadline for the US to vacate the Shamsi airbase, used to launch drone attacks, following a NATO airstrike that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Wednesday in Karachi: “The US will vacate the airbase by Dec 11.”

Islamabad Saturday asked the US to vacate Shamsi airbase in Balochistan province.

NATO helicopter gunships had targeted two border posts in Mohmand Agency Nov 26, killing 24 soldiers and sparking outrage in the country.

The US has been using the airbase for nearly a decade for military operations in Afghanistan and drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions, said Xinhua.

The prime minister said Pakistan had sent a formal letter to the US to vacate the airbase.

Islamabad has stopped the passage of NATO supply through the country to protest the NATO attack.

It has also decided not to attend next week’s Bonn Conference on the future of Afghanistan.

Gilani said Afghan President Hamid Karzai called him Tuesday and asked for a review of the Bonn Conference boycott decision. But “Pakistan cannot put at risk its own security for Afghanistan”, he added.

“I had told President Karzai that Afghan soil was used for attack on Pakistan and we are protesting over the attacks,” he said.

“Pakistan wants a guarantee for its security,” Gilani said, adding that the Afghan president argued that the US and NATO had carried out the attack on Pakistani posts and Afghanistan had not been involved.

“Bonn Conference will be held for Afghanistan’s security but who will guarantee our security in view of NATO strikes,” the prime minister said.

“We cannot attend Bonn Conference unless we get guarantee of respect to our sovereignty, independence and security,” Gilani said when asked about international appeals to Pakistan to change its boycott decision.

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