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
Add to Briefcase
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 »
WITH LIVE BLOGGING
Trump Deposition Video Is Online
4 hours ago
STAFF PICKS

The video of Donald Trump's deposition in his case against restaurateur Jeffrey Zakarian is now live. Slate's Jim Newell and Josh Voorhees are live-blogging it while they watch.

Source:
SOUND LEVEL AFFECTED
Debate Commission Admits Issues with Trump’s Mic
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.

Source:
TRUMP VS. CHEFS
Trump Deposition Video to Be Released
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."

Source:
A CANDIDATE TO BE ‘PROUD’ OF
Chicago Tribune Endorses Gary Johnson
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."

FUNERAL FOR ISRAELI LEADER
Obama Compares Peres to ‘Giants of the 20th Century’
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Speaking at the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, President Obama "compared Peres to 'other giants of the 20th century' such as Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth who 'find no need to posture or traffic in what's popular in the moment.'" Among the 6,000 mourners at the service was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Obama called Abbas's presence a sign of the "unfinished business of peace" in the region.

Source:
×