An early Friday US drone strike against North Waziristan killed a number of civilians, sparking more anti-US protests across Pakistan. With the Pakistani Army demanding an end to the strikes, their continuation is fueling growing tensions between the two nations.
Earlier in the week US officials were doubting the seriousness of the demands, saying that Pakistan had not stopped the US from using Pakistani air fields to launch the drone. Now the indications are that this too may be changing.
While the exact details are not clear yet, Pakistani officials have confirmed that the US contingent has left Shamsi Air Base in Balochistan Province, which is the key base for CIA drones. It is unclear if they were ordered out or left for some other reason.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen was in Pakistan earlier in the week, supposedly to repair relations. The trip ended with Mullen accusing Pakistan of terror ties, and with Gen. Parvez Kayani, his Pakistani counterpart, refusing to take the usual public handshake photo with him at the post-meeting press conference.
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