The image — that is no longer on the site but which was obtained by The News, Pakistan's English language daily newspaper — shows what appear to be three Predator drones outside a hangar at the end of the runway. The Times also obtained a copy of the image, whose co-ordinates confirm that it is the Shamsi airfield, also known as Bandari, about 200 miles southwest of the Pakistani city of Quetta.
An investigation by The Times yesterday revealed that the CIA was secretly using Shamsi to launch the Predator drones that observe and attack al-Qaeda and Taleban militants around Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. [thanks RJ]
Secrecy and denial as Pakistan lets CIA use airbase to strike militants
The Defence Energy Support Centre site shows that a civilian company, Nordic Camp Supply (NCS), was contracted to deliver the fuel, worth $3.2 million, from Pakistan Refineries near Karachi. It also shows the fuel was delivered last year, when the United States escalated drone attacks on Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas, allegedly killing several top Taleban and al-Qaeda targets, but also many civilians.
A source at NCS, which is based in Denmark, confirmed that the company had been awarded the contract and had supplied the fuel to Shamsi, but declined to give further details. A spokesman for the US embassy in Pakistan told The Times: “Shamsi is not the final destination.” However, he declined to elaborate and denied that the US was using it as a base.
“No. No. No. No. No. We unequivocally and emphatically can tell you that there is no basing of US troops in Pakistan,” he said. “There is no basing of US Air Force, Navy, Marines, Army, none, on the record and emphatically. I want that to be very clear. And that is the answer any way you want to put it. There is no base here, no troops billeted. We do not operate here.”