U.S. Looking Outside of Afghanistan to Launch Pakistan Drone Strikes

But officials said closing U.S. bases in Afghanistan would hinder the CIA’s intelligence-gathering.

Maintenence personel check a Predator drone operated by U.S. Office of Air and Marine (OAM), before its surveillance flight near the Mexican border on March 7, 2013 from Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
Feb. 18, 2014, 2:53 a.m.

With U.S. in­volve­ment in Afgh­anistan after this year still un­clear, the ad­min­is­tra­tion is look­ing for oth­er ways to launch drones in­to Pakistan, of­fi­cials said.

Of­fi­cials told the Los Angeles Times that the ad­min­is­tra­tion is look­ing at oth­er bases in Cent­ral Asia, but noted that mov­ing out of Afgh­anistan will hinder the CIA’s abil­ity to launch timely strikes in Pakistan’s moun­tain­ous bor­der re­gion.

“There is an enorm­ous amount of hu­man in­tel­li­gence col­lec­ted that sup­ports the strikes, and those bases are a key part of it,” one of­fi­cial said.

The United States has yet to get a bi­lat­er­al se­cur­ity agree­ment with Afgh­anistan, and without it all U.S. forces will pull out of the coun­try by the end of the year. Afghan Pres­id­ent Ham­id Kar­zai said the pact could be signed after the coun­try’s elec­tions this spring.

Mil­it­ary planes cur­rently ac­com­pany the CIA’s drones in Afgh­anistan, and of­fi­cials said if the U.S. bases in Afgh­anistan close they could move the drones to north­ern coun­tries, but didn’t spe­cif­ic which.

It’s not the first time of­fi­cials have ac­know­ledged con­tin­gency plan­ning in its abil­ity to launch drone strikes against ter­ror­ist or­gan­iz­a­tions in Pakistan.

De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel said earli­er this month that he didn’t want to “get in­to the spe­cif­ics of what our plans are on in­tel­li­gence and drone strikes,” not­ing that “you’re con­stantly up­dat­ing and chan­ging … where you pos­ture those as­sets, where the threats are most sig­ni­fic­ant, where do you have al­lies that are will­ing to work with you.”

But the ad­min­is­tra­tion has scaled back its use of drones in re­cent years. Pakistan was the tar­get of 28 drones strikes in 2013, down from a high of 117 in 2010.

What We're Following See More »
MARCIA FUDGE TO PRESIDE
Wasserman Schultz Stripped of Convention Duties
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."

Source:
EARLY BUMP FOR TRUMP?
New Round of Polls Show a Tight Race
2 days ago
THE LATEST
  • A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
  • A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
  • And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
BELLWETHER?
Candidates Deadlocked in Ohio
3 days ago
THE LATEST
17-POINT EDGE AMONG MILLENNIALS
Clinton Dominates Among Younger Voters
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

In an election between two candidates around 70 years of age, millennials strongly prefer one over the other. Hillary Clinton has a 47%-30% edge among votes 18 to 29. She also leads 46%-36% among voters aged 30 to 44.

Source:
NEW POLL SHOWS TROUBLE FOR TRUMP
Clinton Leads Trump Among Latinos by Nearly 70 Points
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

According to an online tracking poll released by New Latino Voice, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump among Latino voters, attracting support from 81 percent of Latino voters, to just 12 percent support for Trump. The results of this poll are consistent with those from a series of other surveys conducted by various organizations. With Pew Research predicting the 2016 electorate will be 12 percent Hispanic, which would be the highest ever, Trump could be in serious trouble if he can't close the gap.

Source:
×