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Pakistan to ask US to vacate air base

By The Assam Tribune

Islamabad, Nov 27 (IANS): Pakistan will ask the US to stop using one of its key air base after a NATO air raid on one of the country's border checkposts left at least 25 soldiers dead, the government said.

An emergency meeting of the cabinet defence committee on Saturday night, chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, also decided to close with immediate effect the NATO's supply lines through the country. The US will be asked to vacate the air base in Balochistan province within 15 days, Xinhua reported quoting an official statement.

The Cabinet Committee "strongly condemns the attack by NATO and ISAF aircraft which resulted in the loss of precious lives of officers and men of Pakistan Army," it said. The meeting was called to review the situation following the raid in Mohmand Agency. Besides federal ministers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee also attended.

The government also plans to review all engagements, including military and intelligence, with the US, NATO and the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force), the statement from the prime minister's office said.

At least 25 Pakistani soldiers were killed early Saturday when NATO helicopters from Afghanistan attacked a border checkpost, leading to Islamabad lodging a strong protest with Washington. Fifteen others were injured in the attack.

Pakistani to blame for NATO attack, says daily:Pakistan's tactic of aligning with the "good" Taliban while pledging to fight the militants is what led to the attack by NATO that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers, a daily said on Sunday.

As anger swept through Pakistan over the Saturday attack on a border checkpost, the Daily Times said Pakistan's double game had upset both the NATO and US armies. "We promised to tackle the militants who have free rein to cross the border at any time and attack US targets in Afghanistan," it said in an editorial.

"However, what we did not tell them was that we were going to have a little fun of our own -- we were going to play the double game in the name of 'strategic depth'.

"By aiding and abetting the 'good' Taliban (those militants not attacking the Pakistani state) in the hopes of (giving them) a prominent place at the power sharing table in Afghaistan after the US withdrawal in 2014, we have disillusioned the US and NATO forces."

The daily said that Pakistan would now have great difficulty "to convince the US of our sincerity, especially after Osama bin Laden was found hiding comfortably in Abbottabad". The Daily Times said the "only way to prevent cross border attacks is to tackle the militants as promised".

In an editorial, the Dawn called the killings an "unfortunate" incident and admitted that Mohmand, where the Pakistani checkpost was attacked, was an area through which "militants do cross the border".

It said the need of the hour was "more cooperation, not less" between the West and Pakistan. "But the mistrust that an incident like this can foster will do nothing to bring that about," it warned.

Saturday's was the deadliest of attacks by Western forces on Pakistani military along the rugged border with Afghanistan where Western forces are battling an aggressive Taliban. A similar strike on September 2010 left two Pakistani soldiers dead and 11 others died in June 2008.

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Pakistan to ask US to vacate air base

Islamabad, Nov 27 (IANS): Pakistan will ask the US to stop using one of its key air base after a NATO air raid on one of the country's border checkposts left at least 25 soldiers dead, the government said.

An emergency meeting of the cabinet defence committee on Saturday night, chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, also decided to close with immediate effect the NATO's supply lines through the country. The US will be asked to vacate the air base in Balochistan province within 15 days, Xinhua reported quoting an official statement.

The Cabinet Committee "strongly condemns the attack by NATO and ISAF aircraft which resulted in the loss of precious lives of officers and men of Pakistan Army," it said. The meeting was called to review the situation following the raid in Mohmand Agency. Besides federal ministers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee also attended.

The government also plans to review all engagements, including military and intelligence, with the US, NATO and the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force), the statement from the prime minister's office said.

At least 25 Pakistani soldiers were killed early Saturday when NATO helicopters from Afghanistan attacked a border checkpost, leading to Islamabad lodging a strong protest with Washington. Fifteen others were injured in the attack.

Pakistani to blame for NATO attack, says daily:Pakistan's tactic of aligning with the "good" Taliban while pledging to fight the militants is what led to the attack by NATO that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers, a daily said on Sunday.

As anger swept through Pakistan over the Saturday attack on a border checkpost, the Daily Times said Pakistan's double game had upset both the NATO and US armies. "We promised to tackle the militants who have free rein to cross the border at any time and attack US targets in Afghanistan," it said in an editorial.

"However, what we did not tell them was that we were going to have a little fun of our own -- we were going to play the double game in the name of 'strategic depth'.

"By aiding and abetting the 'good' Taliban (those militants not attacking the Pakistani state) in the hopes of (giving them) a prominent place at the power sharing table in Afghaistan after the US withdrawal in 2014, we have disillusioned the US and NATO forces."

The daily said that Pakistan would now have great difficulty "to convince the US of our sincerity, especially after Osama bin Laden was found hiding comfortably in Abbottabad". The Daily Times said the "only way to prevent cross border attacks is to tackle the militants as promised".

In an editorial, the Dawn called the killings an "unfortunate" incident and admitted that Mohmand, where the Pakistani checkpost was attacked, was an area through which "militants do cross the border".

It said the need of the hour was "more cooperation, not less" between the West and Pakistan. "But the mistrust that an incident like this can foster will do nothing to bring that about," it warned.

Saturday's was the deadliest of attacks by Western forces on Pakistani military along the rugged border with Afghanistan where Western forces are battling an aggressive Taliban. A similar strike on September 2010 left two Pakistani soldiers dead and 11 others died in June 2008.