Shamsi or not, drone strikes to continue: US - Pakistan Today

Shamsi or not, drone strikes to continue: US

The United States plans to keep using an airstrip inside Pakistan for non-lethal drone flights against militants near the Afghanistan border despite demands from some Pakistani officials that Washington should vacate the base, three US officials said. “The facility remains fully operational and supports American counterterrorism operations in Pakistan,” one of the officials told Reuters on Monday. But the official added: “If, for whatever reason, it was no longer available, there are certainly other ways to continue the programme and to sustain the intense pressure it’s put on al Qaeda and its militant allies.” The airstrip at Shamsi in Balochistan will continue to be used for some drone surveillance operations, while the CIA, which is principally responsible for the missions, is already using facilities in Afghanistan to launch some armed drone aircraft strikes on targets over the border in Pakistan. The Washington Post reported on Saturday that three months ago the CIA had suspended using the base as a launch site for armed drones targeting al Qaeda and other militants.

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