Leaving drone base won’t have big impact on US air war

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The US decision to vacate Shamsi Airbase will have little impact on the American air campaign, a senior military source said on Monday, but the move is a big political win for Pakistan. US personnel completed their departure from Shamsi Airfield, 200 miles southwest of Quetta. The operation began on about December 5, after a NATO cross-border strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. But a military source said their departure would have little impact on the drone campaign. “The Shamsi base was more of a maintenance and refueling base for the drones, while most of the operations are conducted from across the border,” he said. “Technically speaking, yes, the vacation of this base should have an impact on the drone operations, but it remains to be seen as to how big an impact this would be.” The source said the US had at least two other bases in Afghanistan it could use. The last US personnel left the base at about 12:15pm, according to a senior security official who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.