Monday, December 12, 2011

Pakistan decides to shoot down US drones

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will shoot down any US drone that intrudes its airspace as per new directives, a senior Pakistani official said. According to the new Pakistani defence policy, “Any object entering into our airspace, including US drones, will be treated as hostile and be shot down,” a senior Pakistani military official told NBC News. The policy change comes just weeks after a deadly NATO attack on Pakistani military checkpoints killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, prompting Pakistani officials to order all US personnel out of a remote airfield in Pakistan. The government had told the United States to vacate the Shamsi airbase by December 11. The Frontier Corps took control of the Shamsi airbase on Saturday evening after most US military personnel left, sources said. Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani had issued multiple directives since the November 26 NATO attack, which included orders to shoot down US drones, senior military officials confirmed to NBC News. It was unclear whether orders to fire upon incoming US drones were part of the initial orders. The Pakistani airbase had been used by US forces, including the CIA, to stage elements of a clandestine US counter-terrorism operation to attack militants linked to al Qaeda, the Taliban and Haqqani network, using unmanned drone aircraft armed with missiles. Since 2004, US drones have carried out more than 300 attacks inside Pakistan. inp

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