Pakistan-United States Military Relations
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Pakistan%E2%80%93United States Military Relations

Military relations between Pakistan and the United States have been present since the two established diplomatic relations in 1947. The United States' military relations with Pakistan have been consistently close and it has sometimes been referred to as "America's most allied ally in Asia", reflecting shared interests in security and stability in South Asia.[1]

The military establishments of both countries have cooperated in taking action against militant groups involved in the War in Afghanistan. The Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force regularly engage in joint exercises with U.S. forces, while the Pakistan Navy is the second most consistent participant in Combined Task Force 150 and Combined Task Force 151 after the United States Navy.[2]

U.S. bases

The following military bases in Pakistan have been accessible to the United States, mainly for logistics, relief efforts or as launching bases for drone operations.[3] Pakistan comes under the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) theatre of operations.[4] The Afghanistan-Pakistan Center of Excellence is a division of USCENTCOM, focusing on analysis of operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan (formerly known as the AfPak theatre).[5] Currently, there are no U.S. bases in Pakistan.[6]

Location of former U.S. military bases in Pakistan
Base Location Use
PAF Camp Badaber Badaber, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Formerly known as the Peshawar Air Station, this was a former CIA and United States Air Force Security Service listening post, used by the 6937th Communications Group from July 17, 1959 until January 7, 1970 when it was closed. The base was used for intelligence gathering operations and radio transmission intercepts relating to the Soviet Union. At one point, there were 800 personnel and 500 supporting staff stationed at the base.[7]Francis Gary Powers, who was shot down and captured in the Soviet Union during the 1960 U-2 incident, took off from this base for his spy mission.
Shamsi Airfield Washuk, Balochistan A private airfield leased by the Abu Dhabi royal family for hunting trips to Pakistan. The UAE, under Pakistani government authorisation, sub-leased it to the Central Intelligence Agency and United States Air Force (USAF) on 20 October 2001.[8] The base was exclusively used to conduct drone operations in northwest Pakistan, and housed several U.S. military personnel. Blackwater employees were also involved in these operations.[9] The CIA and USAF jointly developed the airfield, constructing two permanent and one portable hangars for housing drones, in addition to support and residential facilities as well as resurfacing of the asphalt runway. The U.S. ceased its drone operations from Shamsi in April 2011, following the controversial Raymond Allen Davis incident. However, it continued using Shamsi airfield for logistics and emergency landings.[10] In November 2011, Pakistan ordered the eviction of U.S. personnel from the airbase in response to the Salala incident which heightened diplomatic tensions. Subsequently, the U.S. ceased its use of the base.[11]
PAF Base Shahbaz Jacobabad, Sindh Located in northern Sindh near the border with Balochistan, the U.S. military had exclusive use of the airbase since at least 2002 to coordinate operations in Afghanistan.[4] The base was also originally used for CIA drone operations in northwest Pakistan. According to sources, CIA drones were operated from this base "for some years". In 2001, around 250 U.S. Marines were stationed here for search-and-rescue operations.[12] As of 2010, around 50 American military personnel were stationed here in an inner cordon "US-only area" while the outer protective layer was under Pakistan Army control.[3]
Dalbandin Airport Dalbandin, Balochistan A public airport used by the U.S. since at least 2002 as a base to support Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.[4] The base was used to aid logistical support and intelligence operations in Afghanistan. It was also used as a refueling base for U.S. helicopters.[13]
Pasni Airport Pasni, Balochistan A commercial airport used by the U.S. since at least 2002 to support Operating Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.[4] During early 2002, over a dozen U.S. military helicopters were stationed at Pasni. As of July 2006, the airport was still under the use of U.S. forces, with U-2 reconnaissance aircraft stationed here.[14]
PAF Base Nur Khan Chaklala, Rawalpindi, Punjab A base with permanent U.S. military presence, used for handling U.S. logistics and movements in relation to the war in Afghanistan. During the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, 300 American troops as well as U.S. aircraft were deployed here to aid in relief efforts.[3]
PAF Base Samungli Quetta, Balochistan Previously used for US military logistical operations in Afghanistan. The base did not feature a permanent presence, although the Pentagon is said to have been provided access to use the base "as and when".[3]
Tarbela Ghazi Airbase Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa A Pakistan Army Aviation Corps airbase. An anonymous source described the facility as a "big helipad".[3] During the 2010 Pakistan floods, U.S. CH-46 Sea Knight, CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were stationed here for relief efforts.[15]
PAF Base Peshawar Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Occasionally used by U.S. forces as transit point while deploying to other locations.[3]


See also


  1. ^ Khan, Mohammed Ayub (January 1964). "The Pakistan-American Alliance". Foreign Affairs. Archived from the original on 2016-10-10. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ Iqbal, Anwar (11 March 2017). "Pakistan did 'helpful things' against Haqqanis: US general". Dawn. Archived from the original on 2017-04-12. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Woods, Chris (15 December 2011). "CIA drones quit one Pakistan site - but US keeps access to other airbases". Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Archived from the original on 2016-08-26. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d "Pasni and Jacobabad now in joint use of Pak, US air forces". The News. January 2002. Archived from the original on 29 January 2012. Retrieved 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. ^ Rajaee, B. (2011). National Security under the Obama Administration. Springer. p. 39. ISBN 9781137010476.
  6. ^ "6 tough questions fielded by PM Abbasi in his maiden US visit". Dawn. 21 September 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-09-21. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ Fulghum, Milton L. "Unit History". 6937th Communications Group, PAS, Peshawar, Pakistan. Archived from the original on 2016-04-19. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ Khan, Air Marshal (Retd.) Ayaz Ahmed, "Shamsi Air Base", Defence Journal, November 2007, Volume 11, No. 4, Karachi, Pakistan
  9. ^ Munawar, Harris Bin (9 December 2011). "What happens at Shamsi airfield?". The Friday Times. Archived from the original on 2012-01-26. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ De Young, Karen (1 July 2011). "CIA idles drone flights from base in Pakistan". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2016-08-22. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ Henderson, Barney (11 December 2011). "US vacates airbase in Pakistan". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2016-05-29. Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ "Shahbaz Air Base". Global Security. 5 July 2011. Archived from the original on 2016-08-03. Retrieved 2016.
  13. ^ "Dalbandin, Pakistan". Global Security. 5 July 2011. Archived from the original on 2016-08-03. Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ "Pasni, Pakistan". Global Security. 5 July 2011. Archived from the original on 2016-08-03. Retrieved 2016.
  15. ^ "Soldiers, helicopters to deploy for Pakistan relief". United States Army. 31 August 2010. Archived from the original on 2017-02-05. Retrieved 2016.

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