K.M Chaudary/AP

U.S. Reportedly Curbs Drone Strikes in Pakistan

The Obama administration has reportedly curtailed drone strikes in Pakistan to let peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban continue. By Stephanie Gaskell

January was the first month that no drone strikes were reported in Pakistan in the past two years. Now we may know why. The Obama administration has “sharply curtailed” its drone strikes there, after Pakistani government officials asked for restraint so they could continue peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban, according to the Washington Post .

“That’s what they asked for, and we didn’t tell them no,” one U.S. official told the Post . The U.S. will still carry out strikes against senior al-Qaeda targets if the opportunity arises, and will still strike to protect against any direct threats to U.S. personnel in Pakistan.

A drone strike killed Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud in November, just days before peace talks were to start. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was furious and canceled the talks.

A senior administration official, however, denied that any deal had been made to stop drone strikes, telling the Post that the U.S. 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 official said.

Still, U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have dropped sharply over the past several years. In 2010, there were 127 drone strikes; that number dropped to just 27 in 2013, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

NEXT STORY: The U.S. Dilemma in Egypt