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U.S. starts to evacuate from Shamsi air base in Pakistan

(Xinhua)

08:57, December 05, 2011

ISLAMABAD, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- The United States has started evacuation from a military air base in Pakistan on Sunday at the order of the Pakistani government to leave the air base before December 11, reported local Urdu TV channel Geo.

According to the report, the evacuation kicked off Sunday morning when a U.S. plane arrived at the Shamsi air base to take the U.S. personnel back.

They started loading the luggage and equipment when the plane arrived, the reported quoted unidentified sources as saying.

In order to ensure a safe evacuation, security around the air base has been beefed up, said the sources.

The evacuation came eight days after the Pakistani government ordered the U.S. to vacate its air base in the Shamsi area in Pakistan's southwest Balochistan province within 15 days following a NATO cross-border air strike at two Pakistani army check posts in Mohmand tribal area near the Afghan border on Nov. 26, which killed 24 Pakistani troops and wounded 13 others.

Shamsi air base is located some 320 km southwest of Balochistan 's capital city Quetta. The United States has reportedly been using the air base since 2001 for operations in Afghanistan and drone strikes in Pakistan's northwest tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, a place that the U.S. side believes to be a haven for militants who often launch cross-border attacks on the NATO troops in Afghanistan.

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