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U.S. flag lowered at Pakistani airbase

(Xinhua)

08:46, December 12, 2011

ISLAMABAD, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- American flag was lowered at a Pakistani airbase on Sunday as the U.S. military personnel had been asked to vacate the facility by December 11, local media reported.

Pakistan had asked the U.S. to vacate Shamsi airbase in Balochistan province following NATO fighter jets and helicopters bombed two border posts on November 26 and killed 24 soldiers.

The U.S. had reportedly been using the airbase since late 2001 for military operations in Afghanistan and for drone strikes in Pakistan tribal regions.

Pakistani security forces entered the airfield Sunday morning and hoisted the national flag as the last transport U.S. aircraft left with remaining personnel and equipment, Geo television reported while quoting its own sources.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said last week that the United States has been asked to vacate the airbase by December 11.

Local TV channels reported that the U.S. shifted all its personnel in 9 planes and equipment in nearly 20 transport planes. The personnel, drone aircraft, weapons and other equipment have been shifted to Afghanistan, the reports said.

U.S. officials recently said that they have a backup plan in Afghanistan if the Shamsi airstrip is closed down.

Geo TV reported that senior officials from the Defence Ministry and Civil Aviation were at the airbase at the time of the vacation.

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