Vacate airbase: Pak tells US after NATO attack
Posted on: 06:12 AM IST Nov 27, 2011
New Delhi: Pakistan is furious after a NATO attack at the Salalah checkpoint killed 28 soldiers on Saturday. It has retaliated by cutting off supplies for American and allied forces into Afghanistan and has asked US to vacate the Shamsi airbase within 15 days.
The base, in southwest Pakistan, is reportedly used for CIA drone strikes.
ISAF spokesman Brigadier General Carsten Jacobsen said, "The commander of the International Security Assistance Force has stated that he is personally paying the highest attention to this matter and that he is committed to thoroughly investigate and determine the facts."
Outrage in Pakistan started at the very top and US ambassador Cameron Munter was summoned to the foreign ministry. The foreign ministry office described it as a grave infringement of Pakistan's sovereignty.
Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said, "I have discussed the matter with Chaudhry Nisar, leader of the opposition, and also with Imran Khan and have been talking to other Pakistani leaders. That's why our nation and country has become united for defence. We will not allow to anybody to attack our country."
Protests have been lodged in Washington and at NATO head quarters in Brussels, but presumably prodded by the army. Pakistan began hinting at tougher action.
"The Pakistani government cannot tolerate such actions against its army. God willing, we will take up this issue at the relevant forum. We will not only protest, but we will prove through certain actions that the Pakistani government cannot tolerate such kind of actions," Pakistan's Information Minister Firdous Aashiq Awan said.
All movement of NATO convoys through Pakistan to Afghanistan have been stopped but there's been no initiative by Pakistan to stop US drone strikes in the tribal territories. The drones are reportedly based in Pakistan.