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Saturday, July 2, 2011

US-PAK STANDOFF: U.S. rejects demands to vacate Pakistan drone base!

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WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD | Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:59pm EDT

(Reuters) - The United States is rejecting demands from Pakistani officials that American personnel abandon a military base used by the CIA to stage drone strikes against suspected militants, U.S. officials told Reuters.

U.S. personnel have not left the remote Pakistani military installation known as Shamsi Air Base and there is no plan for them to do so, said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, who asked for anonymity to discuss sensitive material.

"That base is neither vacated nor being vacated," the official said. The information was confirmed by a second U.S. official.

The U.S. declaration that drone operations in Pakistan will continue unabated is the latest twist in a fraught relationship between security authorities in Washington and Islamabad, which has been under increasing strain for months.

Regarding the Shamsi base in particular, Pakistani officials have frequently suggested it is being shuttered, comments that may be aimed at quieting domestic opposition to U.S. military operations using Pakistani soil.
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