Pak air chief vows to shoot down intruding US, other drones

08 December 2017

Pakistan Air Force chief Sohail Aman said on Thursday that he has ordered the shooting down of any drones, including those sent by the US, if they violate the country's airspace.

The announcement comes about two weeks after a US drone strike targeted a militant compound in Pakistan's tribal region near the Afghan border, killing three alleged militants.

Pakistan has always condemned drone strikes on its soil but has never said before they would shoot them down.

"We will not allow anyone to violate our airspace. I have ordered PAF to shoot down drones, including those of the US, if they enter our airspace, violating the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Air Chief Marshal Aman said in Islamabad.

According to The Times of India, the CIA was responsible for all US strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Pakistan until 30 November 2017.

After every drone strike, the Pakistan foreign office issues a condemnatory statement claiming that it will not allow such strikes on its territory.

According to media reports, hundreds of civilians, including women and children, along with senior members of terrorist groups have perished in these attacks. The status of many more people remains unknown.

Aman said the most unfortunate tragedy in the PAF's history was the attack on the Kamra air base. In August 2012, militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons carried out an attack on the PAF's Minhas airbase at Kamra. Aman said in the attack, terrorists managed to completely destroy one Saab plane and inflict considerable damage on another.

"After the attack on Kamra airbase not only did we set out to make the PAF better and stronger, but were also determined to guide the nation towards self-sufficiency. Now, Pakistan will make its own fighter jets," he said.

"Even Indian defence officials attest to our successes on the battlefield," Aman claimed and alleged that India was behind the attack on Kamra airbase. "What do terrorists want from PAF planes?" he asked.

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