US shifts five drones from Shamsi airbase to Afghanistan

Drone

The US has reportedly shifted five unmanned spy planes from an airbase in southwest Pakistan to Afghanistan after Islamabad asked Washington to vacate the facility following a cross-border NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The US has removed all its equipment from Shamsi airbase in Balochistan province, Geo News channel quoted its sources as saying.

Officials of the Federal Investigation Agency have been deployed at the airbase to oversee immigration procedures for departing American personnel, the channel reported.

The American personnel had dismantled their residential barracks.

A Pakistani military official in Balochistan recently said the US officials in Shamsi had burnt some equipment.

He claimed this was a routine practice as the gear was no longer required.

After the NATO attack on two military border posts on November 26, Pakistan asked the US to vacate Shamsi airbase by December 11.

It also closed all routes used to transport supplies to American and NATO forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Geo News reported that Shamsi airbase would be taken over tomorrow by officials from the United Arab Emirates, which had leased the facility from Pakistan in 1992.

The UAE had leased the airbase, located about 300 km from the Balochistan capital of Quetta, for use by members of the country¿s royal family who travel to Pakistan every year for hunting expeditions.

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