CIA shifts drone operations to Afghan bases !!!


Chief Minister (5k+ posts)

CIA shifts drone operations to Afghan bases

By MAQBOOL MALIK Submitted 20 hrs 57 mins ago
ISLAMABAD - The US central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has diversified sources for drone operations on Pak-Afghan border after Pakistans growing anger and reluctance to allow use of its Shamsi Air Base for the purpose, sources said on Thursday.
According to the sources, CIA which has been using Shamsi Air Base in Pakistan since 2004 had to develop other sources, largely based in Afghanistan, to carry out its drone operations targeting al-Qaeda and its affiliates, allegedly using sanctuaries in Fata region.
Pakistan had asked US to vacate Shamsi Air Base shortly after the arrest of CIA man Raymond Davis, and since then CIA is primarily using Afghan soil to execute its drone operations, the sources said.
Sources further said that CIA is primarily using two airstrips one on Jalalabad Air Base and the other on Bagaram Air Base in Afghanistan to carry out its drone operations. The same sources said the CIA was also using some facilities in UAE to operate drones. However, this could not be confirmed form other sources.
When contacted, the US Embassy Spokesperson Courtney Beale said she cannot comment on the security related issues and advised this scribe to approach US State Department in this regard.
The CIA has been targeting terrorists hideouts in Pakistans tribal areas on Pak-Afghan border despite the opposition from Islamabad. Although USA has been claiming success in attacking high profile targets, which many believed were mere tactical successes, the drone hits have caused extensive collateral damage. Defence analysts believe that the US operated drones have not only belittled counter terrorism efforts of Pakistan but also generated anti-US sentiments among the tribesmen.
Pakistans political and military leadership lodged its strongest-ever protest with US when a CIA operated drone recently hit a peace congregation in North Waziristan killing many tribal elders and Pakistani security personnel. Similarly, another recent drone attack in South Waziristan earned a strong criticism in which a pharmacy shop was hit and many innocent people were killed.
There have been nearly 300 drone attacks in Fata region since 2004 in which hundreds of civilians have been killed and thousands others injured.


Voter (50+ posts)
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's demand that all U.S. personnel and aircraft immediately vacate an airbase in the south of the country, and the United States' reluctance to meet that demand, is turning into a dispute which could linger as yet another irritant in the relationship between the two nations - which is already being tested to a worrying degree - according to Western defense officials in Islamabad.

That relationship began to descend rapidly on May 2, when a team of U.S. Navy SEALs stormed a compound in the northern Pakistani city of Abbottabad and killed Osama bin Laden, without telling anyone in the Pakistani government they were going to do it.

On Wednesday, defense chief Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar said Pakistan had told the U.S. to leave the Shamsi airbase in Baluchistan province. Though never acknowledged publicly, the base is widely believed to be used as a storage and launch site for some of the unmanned drone aircraft the CIA use to target militant suspects in the "surgical" strikes relied on so heavily by the Obama administration.

In spite of the definitive tone of Mukhtar's remarks, two Western officials tell CBS News the matter may drag on.

"I doubt if the Americans will say, right, there is a note from Pakistan and we have to vacate this base immediately," said one of the two officials who both spoke to CBS on the condition of anonymity given the sensitive nature of the matter. The source closely tracks U.S.-Pakistan relations, and added that, "hardliners in the U.S. will probably refuse to accept Pakistan's demand immediately."

The official agreed with that assessment, noting the U.S. government enjoys "a great deal of clout in Pakistan. They are not going to simply accept an order from the defense minister and move out."

U.S. officials have largely refused to comment on the demand to vacate Shamsi, but there's been no indication American hardware - which Americans didn't know was in Pakistan to begin with - is being removed.


New Member
Drone strikes show Pakistan still cooperating with U.S.

McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON -- The CIA still is launching drone strikes against al-Qaida and allied extremists from a base in southwestern Pakistan, indicating that key facets of counterterrorism cooperation have survived the serious strains in U.S.-Pakistani relations since Osama bin Laden's killing, U.S. officials said.

More high-profile cooperative programs have been throttled by the Pakistani military, which is furious that it was kept in the dark about the May 2 U.S. raid on bin Laden's hideout near Islamabad, the Pakistani capital. U.S. military trainers have been ordered out of the country and visas for U.S. officials have been held up.

But the covert cooperation that U.S. officials consider the heart of the counterterrorism effort - including strikes by unmanned, missile-firing drones that have reportedly killed at least 35 extremist leaders since 2004 - is continuing.

"As frustrating as this relationship can sometimes be, Pakistan has been absolutely critical to many of our most significant successes against al-Qaida," John Brennan, President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, said Wednesday. "I am confident that Pakistan will remain one of our most important counterterrorism partners."

The same day, Pakistani Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar was quoted as saying that Pakistan had ended CIA drone flights from Shamsi airfield in Baluchistan province. A senior U.S. official disputed that statement, saying, "That's news to the United States," and suggesting that Mukhtar was trying to assuage anti-American sentiment and deflect public anger over the bin Laden operation.

"It's puzzling why Pakistani officials would push incorrect information out the door," said the official, who asked not to be further identified because of the sensitivity of the issue. "We can only assume that it's a function of domestic politics."

He continued: "Pakistani officials sometimes say things in public that don't exactly square with what they say in private to their American counterparts. They've expressed concerns at times about the pacing and the number (of drone attacks), and the U.S. has been sensitive at times. But the fact is that this program remains intact."

Shamsi is about 200 miles southwest of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province. According to a database maintained by the New America Foundation, a policy institute, the CIA has used it since at least 2004 to launch more than 250 drone strikes against militants in Pakistan's rugged tribal area bordering Afghanistan.

The agency also flies drones from sites in Afghanistan, so a decision by Pakistan to end the agency's use of Shamsi likely wouldn't deal a major blow to one of the most successful - and controversial - U.S. counterterrorism programs.

In an indirect acknowledgment that drone strikes would continue no matter what, Brennan said, "In some places such as the tribal regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, we will deliver precise and overwhelming force against al-Qaida."

Shamsi, however, has become an important symbol of the cooperation against terrorism that the Obama administration has been striving to maintain with the Pakistani army and intelligence agencies, especially in the wake of the bin Laden raid.

Pakistani security forces have provided intelligence for U.S. drone operations and have a say in selecting some targets. Some attacks have been aimed at Pakistani militants waging a bloody campaign of bombings and attacks aimed at overthrowing the country's secular government.

If the Pakistanis order the CIA to vacate Shamsi, "it would be a significant step and the wrong signal," the senior U.S. official said.

The drones have proved highly controversial with the Pakistani public, in part due to anti-American media campaigns that many experts say are orchestrated by the powerful spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, to obscure its own role and to gain more input in target selection.

Pakistani officials charge that the strikes violate their sovereignty - even though they're launched from Pakistani territory - and are counterproductive because they've killed scores of civilians and created new recruits for the militants.

[propaganda passages/ lies
U.S. officials counter that they know of no civilian casualties in nearly a year, and that the number before that was extremely low.
[skeptical/propaganda passages/ lies]
Peter Bergen, a Qaida expert who oversees the New America Foundation's drone attack database, said approximately 2 percent of drone strike victims - estimated between 1,557 and 2,464 people - have been noncombatants.

"I feel like we're overusing the tactic without paying enough attention to what it's doing to Pakistan," Bergen said. "American policymakers have to think about...balancing the second-order effect it has on Pakistani public opinion."

Partly because of the drone strikes, anti-U.S. sentiments were already high when bin Laden was killed in a helicopter-borne raid by U.S. Navy SEALs.

The operation sent relations into a tailspin because the U.S. didn't inform or include Pakistan in the operation. The Pakistani military came in for public ridicule and scorn when it insisted it didn't know of bin Laden's presence and for failing to detect the U.S. helicopters flying in and out of the country's airspace. {and yeah carrying out a fourty min raid in next to the country's largest Military camps.**

Special correspondent Saeed Shah contributed from Islamabad, Pakistan.



Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
Who knows what is truth. It may be a 'double game' tactics from current government as usual.


Minister (2k+ posts)
kya fark parta hai k kahan sai uur rha hai ?? asal baat tou ya hai ka bomb kahan baras rahey hain ....