Pakistan Foreign Office clarifies over media reports of US military airbase on Pakistani soil
ISLAMABAD - The Pakistani Foreign Office clarified on Monday there was no US military or airbase in Pakistan and no such proposal was under consideration.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said in a press release, “Any speculation on this account was baseless and irresponsible and should be avoided”.
The spokesperson said that Pakistan and the US have a framework of cooperation in terms of Air Lines of Communication (ALOC) and Ground Lines of Communication (GLOC) in place since 2001. No new agreement has been made in this regard, he added.
Reports are rife that US forces have begun construction of a military base across the Durand Line amid withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan. According to the reports, the base is being built at Shalozan, Kurram Agency, Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan.
US President Joe Biden in April ordered withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan by September 11.
The reports were apparently an outcome of a statement of a Pentagon official who while giving briefing to US lawmakers said that Pakistan had allowed the US military to have overflight and access to support its presence in Afghanistan.
David F Helvey, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Affairs, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Saturday that the US government will continue to engage Pakistan due to its significant role in the Afghan peace process.
“We will continue our conversations with Pakistan because their support and contribution to the future of Afghanistan, to future peace in Afghanistan, is going to be critical,” he added.