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Does the US want Pakistan bases after Afghan pullout?

The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan would begin May 1 and it would be completed by September 11, according to an announcement made by President Joe Biden two weeks ago.

But the US president said that Washington would “reorganize our counterterrorism capabilities and the substantial assets in the region to prevent reemergence of terrorists – of the threat to our homeland from over the horizon”.

Pakistan once provided bases to the US but the recent announcement by President Biden has triggered a debate: would the US again ask for Pakistan bases?

Amjad Shoaib, a retired three-star general, said the US hasn’t asked Islamabad to provide it bases in the country.

“According to my information, America hasn’t made such a demand to us,” said the retired general, who is believed to be still close to his former institution. “But if they make such a demand, this demand shouldn’t be accepted.”

In an interview with the VOA last week, Pakistan President Arif Alvi made it clear that Islamabad won’t be in a position to offer its bases to the US.

“I think we should be careful in ensuring the fact that Pakistan doesn’t become a base of US action in Afghanistan of any sort,” President Alvi had said.

Lieutenant General (retired) Shoaib told SAMAA TV that Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly said that Pakistan won’t become a part of any war.

“Pakistan needs to remain firm on its policy,” the former general said. “Pakistan should give a loud message to the world that we are not in a position to provide any bases.”

He believed the US would ask India to provide its bases for military action in Afghanistan.

Zafar Hilaly, a former ambassador who has represented Pakistan in several countries, told SAMAA TV that the US has already threatened Pakistan of sanctions, if the country didn’t provide its bases.

“America wants [its] bases in the country and they have said that there would be sanctions, if they were not given,” the former ambassador said. “They have indicated it.”

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