News / Asia

    Pakistan Orders US Out of Airbase

    Protesters, who are demonstrating against a NATO cross-border attack, burn an effigy representing the U.S. in Karachi, November 27, 2011.
    Protesters, who are demonstrating against a NATO cross-border attack, burn an effigy representing the U.S. in Karachi, November 27, 2011.

    Pakistan has ordered the United States to move out of an airbase on its territory, after shutting down NATO's two main overland supply routes into Afghanistan.  Popular anger is mounting in Pakistan after NATO's killing of 24 Pakistani military personnel in a cross-border airstrike Saturday.

    American forces have been given 15 days to vacate the Shamsi airbase in southwestern Pakistan, where the U.S. sometimes lands unmanned drone aircraft used to attack militants on Pakistani territory.

    Pakistan ordered the departure a day after choking off the two main land routes for moving nonlethal supplies to U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan.

    NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says Saturday's killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers by U.S. aircraft was a “tragic unintended accident.”  He has told Pakistan's prime minister the attack was as “unacceptable and deplorable as the deaths of Afghan and international personnel.”

    With a NATO investigation into the matter pending, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar telephoned U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to convey the “deep sense of rage” in Pakistan.  She said the attack demonstrated “complete disregard for international law and human life, and... negates the progress made by the two countries on improving relations.”  Clinton responded by saying she was deeply saddened, and promised to work with Pakistan on the issue.

    Pakistan also is reexamining its decision to attend a major Afghanistan peace conference in Bonn next month, but has made no final announcement.

    Retired Lieutenant General Talat Masood, an expert on Pakistan's strategic affairs, says the killings have dealt a severe blow to the already negative perceptions of the U.S. among Pakistanis.

    “The majority of the people think that it was an aggression committed by the U.S. by design. The public sentiment has become very anti-American," Masood stated. "And, of course, it gives a big handle to the media to spread the nationalist frenzy.”

    Pakistani television networks broadcast images of the soldiers' funerals Sunday.  Soldiers' coffins were draped in the Pakistani flag and airlifted to their respective hometowns for burial.

    Masood says a thorough and transparent investigation into why and how the airstrike took place may have a chance at soothing some of the anger in this country.

    “I think if the investigation takes place in which Pakistan is taken into full confidence, and if the truth comes out that this was a gross miscalculation on the part of some of the intelligence people - and they apologize, and they compensate - I think it would make definitely a difference,” Masood said.

    Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden used Afghanistan as a base to plan and execute the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.  U.S. special forces killed bin Laden in a Pakistan compound earlier this year.  U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan have faced a constant challenge with the Pakistan border, which is frequently crossed by Pakistan-based militants.

    You May Like

    Pentagon: Afghan Hospital Bombing Not a War Crime

    US Central Command's Joseph Votel says probe found tragedy was result of 'extraordinarily intense situation' that included multiple equipment failures

    US Minorities Link Guns with Other Social Ills

    New study finds reduction in gun violence could help lower America’s incarceration rate – the world’s highest - and improve relationships between police, citizens in minority communities

    Speeding Causes Spike in Deaths on South African Roads

    At least 14,000 people die each year from country’s traffic-related incidents; authorities criticized on issues of safety, legal enforcement

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkey Islamists

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora