CIA Scrambles After Pakistan Refuses to Provide Even A Single Airbase

United States officials are in last-minute efforts to secure bases close to Afghanistan for future operations. But the complexity of the continuing conflict has led to thorny diplomatic negotiations as the military pushes to have all forces out by early to mid-July, well before President Bidenโ€™s deadline of Sept. 11, according to American officials and regional experts.

One focus has been Pakistan. The C.I.A. used a base there for years to launch drone strikes against militants in the countryโ€™s western mountains, but was kicked out of the facility in 2011, when U.S. relations with Pakistan unraveled.

A New York Times report on Tuesday suggested that the negotiations between the two countries on the issue have reached an impasse.

The C.I.A. used the Shamsi air base in western Pakistan to carry out hundreds of drone strikes during a surge that began in 2008 and lasted during the early years of the Obama administration. The strikes focused primarily on suspected Qaeda operatives in Pakistanโ€™s mountainous tribal areas, but they also crossed the border into Afghanistan.

Pakistanโ€™s foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, told lawmakers last month that the government would not allow the U.S. military to return to the countryโ€™s air bases. โ€œForget the past, but I want to tell the Pakistanis that no U.S. base will be allowed by Prime Minister Imran Khan so long he is in power,โ€ Mr. Qureshi said.

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