US prepares to vacate Pakistan air base

November 29, 2011 23:54

The United States is preparing to accede to Pakistani demands that it vacate a remote air base in Pakistan used for drone flights, but the move is not expected to have a significant impact on operations against militants, US government sources say.

Washington is treading lightly not to aggravate an already fragile relationship that was bruised further by a NATO attack on a Pakistani military outpost last weekend that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers near the Afghanistan border.

Pakistan demanded that the United States leave the Shamsi Air Base within 15 days and blocked ground supply routes through Pakistan to US forces in Afghanistan.

Three sources, who declined to be identified because of the issue's sensitivity, said US planning is under way to leave the base, a remote facility in Baluchistan that has been a point of contention.

The cross-border incident escalated tensions between the two countries and the US military is conducting an investigation to find out exactly what happened on the ground.

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