US Reining In Drone Strikes in Pakistan—Maybe

But White House official denies claim
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 5, 2014 7:33 AM CST
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.   (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

(Newser) – With Pakistan looking to forge peace with the Pakistani Taliban, the US is reducing its drone strikes in the country at Islamabad's request, US officials tell the Washington Post: "That’s what they asked for, and we didn't tell them no." The Post sees the fact that there hasn't been a drone strike since December—making this the longest strike-free period since 2011—as jibing with the reported approach. But a top White House figure denies the adjustment, saying "reports that we have agreed to a different approach in support of Pakistani peace talks are wrong."

But if true, the new approach doesn't mean a total cessation of strikes: The officials say top al-Qaeda figures will continue to be targeted, and any immediate threat to American individuals will be dealt with. After a November drone strike killed the Pakistani Taliban's leader, Pakistan suggested the US was seeking to derail talks that had been planned at the time, but were then canceled. Yesterday, Pakistan's government was once again due to meet with Taliban members, but two Taliban figures bowed out, prompting its postponement.

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