In another sign of deteriorating relations with Pakistan, the United States is vacating an air base used to launch American drones in response to Islamabad’s request following an incident in which NATO forces killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter said Monday in a local TV interview that the U.S. “will do everything we can to vacate the Shamsi base by the date that you asked us,” The Associated Press reports.
Since the Nov. 26 incident, U.S.-Pakistan tensions have soured, with Pakistan shutting down supply routes to U.S. bases in Afghanistan and boycotting a conference in Germany on the future of Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama called Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday to “personally express his condolences” on the two dozen Pakistani soldiers killed. According to a White House readout of the call, “the president made clear that this regrettable incident was not a deliberate attack on Pakistan and reiterated the United States’ strong commitment to a full investigation,” but there was no mention of a formal apology from Obama.
Meanwhile, the Express Tribune in Pakistan reported on Monday that Islamabad has decided to do away with all existing anti-terror cooperation agreements with Washington as “part of a review of political, diplomatic and military ties with the U.S.”
According to the AP, the Shamsi air base, located in southwestern Baluchistan province, is only used for services drones that had mechanical or weather troubles and vacating it is not expected to significantly effect drone attacks in Pakistan.
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