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If Pakistan Denies U.S. Its Drone Bases, There’s a Backup Plan Next Door

• Spencer Ackerman via
Pakistan may be kicking the CIA out of its premiere base for the drone war. Or it may not — who can tell with the Pakistanis anymore? What’s for certain is that all their griping strengthens the U.S.’ resolve to keep bases in neighboring Afghanistan to launch drones into Pakistan unilaterally.

In keeping with their pique with the U.S. after the SEALs’ unilateral Osama bin Laden kill, the Pakistanis are loudly declaring the U.S. cut off from its most prominent drone launching pad. “No U.S. flights are taking place from Shamsi any longer,” says Pakistani Defense Minister Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar.

He’s referring to the Shamsi air base near Quetta. Shortly after Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) blabbed that the Pakistanis hosted CIA drones in 2009, eagle-eyed sleuths ID’d Shamsi as an epicenter of the drone war using GoogleEarth.


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