Overseas Civilian Contractors

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Pakistan tells US to leave ‘drone’ attack base

Sami Zubeiri  AFP   June 29, 2011

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan told the United States to leave a remote desert air base reportedly used as a hub for covert CIA drone attacks, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar was quoted by state media as saying on Wednesday.

His remarks are the latest indication of Pakistan attempting to limit US activities since a clandestine American military raid killed Osama bin Laden on May 2. Islamabad also detained a CIA contractor wanted for murder in January.

“We have told them (US officials) to leave the air base,” national news agency APP quoted Mukhtar as telling a group of journalists in his office.

Images said to be of US Predator drones at Shamsi base have been published by Google Earth in the past. The air strip is 900 kilometres (560 miles) southwest of the capital Islamabad in Baluchistan province.

A US embassy spokeswoman told AFP there were no US military personnel at Shamsi.

American drone attacks on Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan’s northwestern semi-autonomous tribal belt are hugely unpopular among a general public opposed to the government’s alliance with Washington.

Despite condemning the drone strikes in public, US documents leaked by Internet whistleblower Wikileaks late last year showed that Pakistani civilian and militant leaders had privately consented to the drone campaign.

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June 29, 2011 - Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Pakistan | , , , ,

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