London, Feb.18 (ANI): Despite Pakistan's repeated denials of its airbases being used by US Predators to hit suspected militant outfits inside its territory, a Google Earth image has revealed that its airbases are indeed being put to such use by the US security forces.
According to a report published in the Times of London, a 2006 Google Earth image of the Shamsi airbase, which is situated 200 miles southwest of Quetta, shows three predator drones outside a hanger at the end of the runway.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is secretly using the Shamsi airbase in southern Pakistan to launch the Predator drones that observe and attack al-Qaeda and Taliban militants on the Pakistani side of the border with Afghanistan.
Both Islamabad and Washington had refuted claims of use of Pakistani airbases, but a US official quoted by Fox News said the U.S. has been flying Predators or UAVs in Pakistan since 2002.
The airbase was first utilized by the US led forces during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, and sources said that Pakistan's intelligence and military are secretly supporting the US-led unmanned predator attacks on militant hideouts in the tribal regions.
There have been 30 missile attacks by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) since August 2008, and security forces have claimed to have sanitized more than 50 suspected militants in the last two attacks which targeted the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and North West Frontier Province (NWFP).
Inter-Services Intelligence officials have also said that the last month's arrest of Zabu ul Taifi,a Saudi national and alleged Al-Qaeda operative, from Khyber Agency area was possible due to a better co-ordination between the US led forces and Pakistani intelligence.
"It was direct result of better cooperation with the US, through a combination of human intelligence from Pakistani agents, informants on the ground and aerial surveillance by US drones," an ISI official said.
Pakistan's Army spokesperson Major General Akhtar Abbas, also said that Pakistan and the US has a long history of 'military cooperation and intelligence sharing.' (ANI)