US personnel begin to vacate Pakistan’s Shamsi Air Base: report

According to Dawn, US personnel have begun to vacate Shamsi Air Base in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. Shamsi has been described in the past as a hub for intelligence operations as well as a base for the CIA’s unmanned Predator and Reaper drones. The Pakistani government ordered Shamsi to be closed within 15 days after US forces killed 24 Pakistani troops in a cross-border incident in the Mohmand tribal agency. From Dawn:

An American aircraft arrived in Pakistan on Sunday for US nationals vacating the Shamsi airbase in Balochistan, DawnNews reported. Strict security measures were being taken place in the area and residents were told not to leave their homes.

According to sources, the process of shifting the US nationals into to the aircraft had started already. The road leading towards the airport had also been sealed for security purposes.

The impact that the closure of Shamsi will have on CIA efforts to hunt top al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in North and South Waziristan remains to be seen. The importance of the base to CIA operations has been downplayed in recent press reports.

The Pakistani government has also followed through on its threat to boycott the Bonn Conference. In addition, the Pakistani government has closed down NATO’s supply lines through the Chaman and Torkham (Khyber Pass) border crossings. And the government has also said it is reevaluating its ties to the US and its support for the War on Terror.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Nic says:

    Now that Pakistan is providing less assistance and fewer services, the U. S. should cut its aid to Pakistan by an equal percentage. The school systems in the U. S. could sure use those millions. Boycotting all goods made in Pakistan is a way each of us can help reduce dollars going to Pakistan.

  • Bill Baar says:

    The war is off so many peoples radar screens. I have a feeling it’s all going to come crashing in on us in the next few months.

  • Charu says:

    The money saved from lining Pakistani General’s pockets could go a long way towards building a drone base in southern Afghanistan. The bigger issue is the supply line into Afghanistan; an equally long term problem for a viable and secure Afghanistan that is free from Pakistan’s interference. Support for the Baloch insurgency will kill two birds with one stone by opening a independent route to the sea for Afghanistan while keeping the Punjabis preoccupied as they suffer yet another defeat in their colonies when their military machine grinds to a halt from a lack of supplies and spare parts.

  • gerald says:

    If we increase the pressure on the Taliban in Afghanistan,they will turn their guns on Pakistan. Terrorists always follow the path of least resistance.

  • Rebecca Sime says:

    The loss of this base could work to the US advantage if we have creative thinkers at CIA. For a long time, I have been enthusiatic about taking out terrorists with drones, and the only criticism was why don’t we do it much more quickly. If I read right, we know the presence of several hundred terrorist bases in NW Pakistan. Therefore, by combining as many drones and other missile strikes as possible in one operation, it should be possible to kill hundreds or thousands of terrorists in a matter of hours!

  • Scott Peterson says:

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to assert that these are some of the worst supply lines in the history of warfare.
    Osama bin Laden is dead; an elected government is in place. Bring our forces home now, and let the locals sort things out themselves.


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