The Obama administration has scaled back its drone strikes after a request from the Pakistan government as it engages in talks with the Taliban, officials said Wednesday.
The United States has already decreased the number of drone strikes in recent years. Pakistan was the target of 28 drones strikes in 2013, down from a high of 117 in 2010. A handful took place after Nov. 1, 2013, according to Dronestream.
“That’s what they asked for, and we didn’t tell them no,” a U.S. official told The Washington Post, adding that the administration will go after only senior Qaida officials or immediate threats to an American.
Officials said the decision followed a November drone strike in Pakistan ahead of the government’s talks with the Taliban. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said at the time that the United States was trying to sabotage the negotiations.
The U.S. hasn’t launched a drone strike in Pakistan so far in 2014; it has launched three this year in Yemen.
But a senior administration official pushed back against the notion that the decrease in drone strikes is tied to Pakistan’s ongoing talks with the Taliban.
The Obama administration is “continuing to aggressively identify and disrupt terrorist threats in the Afghan war theater and outside areas of active hostilities in line with our established [counterterrorism] objectives and legal and policy standards…. Reports that we have agreed to a different approach in support of Pakistani peace talks are wrong,” the official said.
The Taliban and Pakistani officials were supposed to meet for talks Tuesday, but the Taliban decided not to participate.
What We're Following See More »
Hillary Clinton may have the Democratic nomination sewn up, but Bernie Sanders apparently isn't buying it. Buoyed by a poll showing them in a "virtual tie," Sanders is "holding three rallies on the final day before the state primary and hoping to pull off a win after a tough week of election losses and campaign layoffs."
As unbound delegates pledged to Ted Cruz watch him "struggle to tread water in a primary increasingly dominated by Trump, many of them, wary of a bitter convention battle that could rend the party at its seams, are rethinking their commitment to the Texas senator."
"The confrontation between debt-swamped Puerto Rico and its creditors is intensifying as the U.S. territory will default on payments due Monday, deepening the island's financial crisis and placing additional pressure on Congress to intervene." The amount of the default is estimated at $422 million.
Nikki Haley. Jeb Bush. Scott Walker. Lindsey Graham. John Kasich. The list is growing ever longer of Republicans who say they wouldn't even consider becoming Donald Trump's running mate. "The recoiling amounts to a rare rebuke for a front-runner: Politicians usually signal that they are not interested politely through back channels, or submit to the selection process, if only to burnish their national profiles."
"Donald Trump holds a 15-point lead over Ted Cruz in the potentially decisive May 3 presidential primary race in Indiana, according to results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. Trump gets support from 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters — followed by Cruz at 34 percent and John Kasich at 13 percent. If that margin in Indiana holds on Tuesday, Trump would be on a glide path towards obtaining the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the Republican nomination on a first ballot at the GOP convention in July."