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15 May, 2011

Shamsi Drone Base--Operational Concept of Employment of US


Drones in Helmand
Concept of Employment of US Drones in Helmand
by

Agha.H.Amin

Shamsi Airbase was the first major US airbase operated by CIA and
Defense Contractors to attack the main Taliban bastion of power in
Afghanistans Helmamd Province.

Shamsi was initially built as a hunting base by the UAE Royal family
in 1994.

It is possible that the CIA was usng it for other covert operations.The
frequent transport aircrafts flying as well as the huge warehoues
complex were mysterious.

Transport aircrafts frequently landed flying from Afghanistan at


Shamsi.What they were carrying is anybodys guess.

A Pakistani infantry battalion minus provided perimeter security to


the base.

The concept of acquiring Shamsi was as following:--


1. Safe and secure from any Taliban ground attack as located more
than 300 km from Afghanistan.
2. Located in the heart of a desert in Baloch territory.Baloch being
hosstile tothe pre dominantly Pashtun Taliban.
3. Being in a desert it was not easy to attack Shamsi by Taliban
ground attack.
4. The US Human Intelligence forward collection set up was
located at Lashkargah and Kandahar and at Zaranj.
5. In 2006 another forward human intelligence cell was set up at
Qala i Afzal in Nimroz province.
6. Wholly under CIA control thus no military interference.
7. The drone base was operational from October 2001 as late as
April 2011.
8. Its importance reduced after establishment of Camp Leatherneck
in Khanishin in Helmand in 2008-9.
9. According to a highly reliable source the whole rhetoric about
the base being used for drone attacks in Afghanistan was a
strategic deception to cover covert strategic reconnaissance of
Iran using a variety of aircrafts.
The statement made by the Pakistani airforce in the joint session of
Pakistans national assembly on 13 May 2011 that Shamsi was being
used by the UAE government has no connection with reality.

Colonel Moin who was my quartermaster and very dear friend from
the time I was commanding 5 Independent Armoured Squadron was
the main liaison between Pakistans12 Corps infantry division
entrusted for security of Shamsi. Moin regularly flew to the base in a
Moshak aircraft and states that two Americans possibly CIA were the
persons he met.
A Pakistani infantry battalion was guarding the base and the
Americans very lavishly paid them for special regimental dinners
etc.According to col moin the main US logistics were closely linked
to flights from oman , Qatar and UAE.