Drone strikes in Pakistan could continue under US-Afghan agreement

But Crocker said Wednesday that the language does not prevent the U.S. military from acting in self-defense — which means that drone strikes in Pakistan could continue.

“There is nothing in this agreement that precludes the right of self-defense for either party and if there are attacks from the territory of any state aimed at us we have the inherent right of self-defense and will employ it," Crocker said at a press briefing on the deal, according to AFP, when he was asked about drone strikes against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan.

ADVERTISEMENT
The U.S. has increasingly turned to drone attacks in Pakistan and elsewhere, including Yemen, to target al Qaeda and Taliban targets, and the strikes are one of the larger points of tension between Washington and Islamabad.  

President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser John Brennan defended drone strikes in a speech on Monday, in one of the first public acknowledgments by the White House that the tactic is used.

"This is defensive in nature, not offensive, doesn't threaten any one, but I hope the region takes notice," Crocker said Wednesday, according to AFP.

The strategic partnership agreement would allow for a U.S. presence in Afghanistan through 2024, but Pakistan’s reaction is one of the central question marks about the agreement.

A semiannual Pentagon report, released Monday, said that Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan remains porous, and Taliban forces continue to move across it too easily, staging attacks in Afghanistan before retreating back to Pakistan.

“Pakistan is still assumed as a risk" to U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Pentagon officials said in a briefing Monday.