U.S.-Pakistan relations deteriorate

Al Jazeera reports: The US has vacated the Shamsi air base in Pakistan’s Balochistan province after a 15-day ultimatum given by Islamabad, prompted by the deaths of at least 24 of its soldiers in a NATO air raid last month.

Sunday’s withdrawal was completed when the final flight carrying US personnel and equiptment flew out.

Nine planes carrying personnel and 20 carrying equiptment – including drone aircraft and weapons – left for neighbouring Afghanistan, officials said.

Shamsi was believed to be the staging post for US drones operating in northwest Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, a senior Pakistani military official told a US television network on Sunday that his country “will shoot down any US drone that enters its territory”.

Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said that Pakistani parliamentarians had “asked their air chief whether they had the capability to shoot down the drones if they were to violate their frontiers”.

“The air chief told them point blank that the decision to shoot down the drones was a political one and if they were ordered to do so they would comply,” he said.

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