THE CIA is launching deadly attacks on Pakistani-based militants from within the country's borders with the co-operation of the civilian Government, which is trying to balance its commitments to its war-on-terror ally and stem a growing Taliban insurgency.
Pakistan has repeatedly denounced the US predator drone attacks on its soil, which have succeeded in eliminating more than half of al-Qa'ida's local commanders in the past six months, and has claimed the strikes have caused hundreds of civilian lives and triggered anti-American sentiment.
But reports in The Times of London and The Wall Street Journal yesterday suggested that Pakistan had been secretly co-operating in covert US operations by allowing the CIA to launch strikes from the remote Shamsi airfield, 50km from the Afghanistan border.
Picture is of Shami Air port in 2006
The Times cited as evidence the delivery of 2.8 million litres of aviation fuel to Shamsi last year, a $US3.2 million purchase that was logged on the Pentagon's fuel procurement agency website. The delivery coincided with a marked escalation in US drone attacks on militant strongholds in Pakistan's tribal areas.
Despite Pakistans repeated denials of its airbases being used by US Predators to hit suspected militant outfits inside its territory, a Google Earth image has revealed that its airbases are indeed being put to such use by the US security forces.
According to a report published in the Times of London, a 2006 Google Earth image of the Shamsi airbase, which is situated 200 miles southwest of Quetta, shows three predator drones outside a hanger at the end of the runway.
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