Pakistan gives two more bases to US

On US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s “request”, Pakistan has agreed to provide two more military bases to America, taking their number to five in the country, and these could be employed in the gathering military campaign against Iran.

In addition to the two new Pakistani bases, one each near Karachi and Islamabad, Rumsfeld has obtained two military stations in Afghanistan, after a meeting with Afghan president Hamid Karzai, and these will deploy special forces and their platforms, heavy equipment, and weapons.

The already three existing US bases in Pakistan are in Jacobabad, a large commercial airport, Dalbandin and Pasni, and while the agreement restricts their use to only search and rescue operations, occasionally, they have supported offensive missions, especially another small base called Shahbaz near Jacobabad.

But diplomatic sources said that the two new bases obtained during Rumsfeld’s flying visit to Pakistan would fit an exclusive offensive role planned by the US defence department whose most likely target is Iran, and these bases will station upwards of three-thousand special forces and all their heavy gear.

With this planned addition in troops, the US would have at least nine thousand special forces in Pakistan, and sources said that batches of them have already commenced operations within Iran.

“Very likely, in return for these bases, “ said a senior diplomat, “the US has agreed to give F-16s to Pakistan, and Rumsfeld was categorical that America would meet Pakistan’s legitimate defence needs.”