Pak Defence Minister admits US used several airbases for Afghan operation

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Islamabad, Jan.15 (ANI): Pakistan Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar has admitted that several air bases in Pakistan were used by the US forces for carrying out operations inside Afghanistan, but added that none of the airbases are being used by the foreign forces at present.

Replying to a question in the Senate, Mukhtar said all the US has vacated all the Pakistani airbases.

"No US planes were now flying from Shamsi, Jacobabad and Pasni," he said.

It is pertinent to mention here that a few days ago a Pakistani official had admitted that the US troops are still using the Shamsi airbase in Balochistan, from where they have been operating since the beginning of the 'war on terror' in Afghanistan.

The official had said that the US had vacated all the airbases near Jacobabad, Pasni and Dalbandin "a long time ago".

The US special forces used the airbase in 2001 during the invasion of Afghanistan, but in 2006 the government of Pakistan said that they had left and since then both Islamabad and Washington have been saying that the Americans were not using any base in Pakistan.

Some Pakistani experts have warned that the US wants to continue using the Shamsi airbase for a long time.

They urged the Pakistan government to ask the US to vacate the strategically located base, particularly after reports surfaced that Washington wants to expand the area of drone attacks into Balochistan.

Sources said the Shahbaz airbase near Jacobabad, about 480kms north of Karachi, was the last base vacated by US forces.

Following the US decision to attack Afghanistan, hundreds of US soldiers were housed in hangars at the airbase.

In December 2001, Pakistan allowed a US request for a long-term presence at Jacobabad and permitted US Marines to renovate the base and build a concrete hangar for 50 large planes and air-conditioned barracks for troops. (ANI)

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