US curtails drone strikes on Pakistan’s request: media report
Story Code : 349151
The Post quoted a US official as saying, “That's what they asked for, and we didn't tell them no.” The newspaper said there had been a lull in such attacks since December, the longest break since 2011.
The newspaper added that the Obama administration indicated it would continue carrying out strikes on senior Al Qaeda officials if they were to become available or to thwart any immediate threat to Americans.
The Post quoted a senior Obama administration official as denying that an informal agreement had been reached, writing, “The issue of whether to negotiate with the Pakistani Taliban is entirely an internal matter for Pakistan.”
While some Pakistanis welcome drone strikes, saying they kill fewer civilians and are more effective against Taliban militants than traditional military operations, others have argued the strikes still cause civilian casualties, terrify residents and violate Pakistani sovereignty.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said he wants all drone strikes to end.
The Post noted that the current US pause came after a November strike killed Pakistani Taliban leader, Hakimullah Mehsud.
The attack took place a day after the premier's National Security and Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz was quoted as stressing that the United States had promised not to conduct additional drone strikes while the government would try to engage the Taliban in peace talks.
An annual study by a British-based organisation found that CIA drone strikes against militants in Pakistan killed no more than four civilians last year, the lowest number of reported civilian deaths since the drone program began in 2004.