Pak mulling Canada's request to use its bases during Afghan-bound troops withdrawal

Islamabad, Oct 14 (ANI): Pakistan is reportedly considering a request from Canada to use its military bases to remove troops and supplies during the scheduled withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

Mian Gul Akbar Zeb, Pakistan's High Commissioner to Canada, disclosed that Ottawa has requested approval to start as early as June 2011, the Globe and Mail reported.

It would amount to ferrying "non-sensitive" military supplies such as tents over land from Kandahar, Afghanistan. Though the shortest distance to Pakistan's port city of Karachi by road is about 900 kilometres, the threat of militant attacks makes longer routes necessary at times.

Zeb said that an agreement for road shipments had yet to be signed, and matters such as how to safeguard the convoys had to be worked out.

Canada's exit from Afghanistan has been complicated by the United Arab Emirates' decision last week to order Canada to vacate Camp Mirage, the covert logistical base it had been using since 2001 to bring its soldiers and cargoes in and out of Afghanistan.

Canada's agreement to use the UAE base expired over the summer and the Arab federation exercised a 30-day eviction rule last week after the countries were unable to reach a deal to extend it.

Meanwhile, Canadian officials have also considered asking to use a Pakistani air base as a replacement supply hub, Ottawa sources revealed.

They however added that the country was not high on the list of alternatives to Camp Mirage, and it was far more likely that Canada would site a new forward base for Afghanistan-bound soldiers somewhere such as Cyprus, with cargo flown in via Germany. (ANI)

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