Report: US has curbed drone strikes in Pakistan

The Obama administration has sharply reduced drone strikes in Pakistan, United States officials told The Washington Post.

The move appears to come after Pakistan’s government asked the U.S. to curb them as it pursues peace talks with the Taliban, according to the Post’s report Tuesday night. 

“That’s what they asked for, and we didn’t tell them no,” one U.S. official told the paper.  

The U.S. will still launch drone strikes against senior al Qaeda members if they become available, and do everything to protect Americans against threats, the report said.

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November’s U.S. drone strike against Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud was the last one known to be launched. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lashed out at the U.S. for interrupting talks his government was scheduled to have with the Taliban, but the meeting was canceled.

One senior official, however, told the Post the U.S. has not agreed to a different drone strategy in an effort to help peace negotiations in Pakistan.

The 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 CT [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 senior official said.

Despite a drawback in Pakistan, the U.S. has continued to carry out drone strikes in Yemen, a major al Qaeda stronghold.