`Sharp decline in US drone strikes in Pakistan`
Last Updated: Thursday, May 23, 2013, 15:54
  
Islamabad: Drone strikes in Pakistan have fallen sharply since their peak in 2010, perhaps in response to increasing scrutiny of the programme by the US Congress and the American public, according to a media report.

This comes just ahead of President Barack Obama's long-awaited address on drones at Washington's National Defence University on Thursday.

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and Brookings Institution scholar, said in Foreign Policy magazine there were many reasons for the declining number of strikes in Pakistan, said a report in the New York Times.

Riedel said that at the top of the list is a growing awareness of the cost of drone strikes in US- Pakistan relations. They are deadly to any hope of reversing the downward slide in ties with the fastest growing nuclear weapons state in the world, he added.

Current and former officials say the reasons include a shrinking list of important Al Qaeda targets, a result of the success of past strikes and transient factors ranging from bad weather to diplomatic strains. But more broadly, the decline may reflect a changing calculation of the long-term costs and benefits of targeted killings.

Obama administration officials have sometimes contrasted the drone programme's relative precision, economy and safety for Americans with the huge costs in lives and money of the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Over time, however, the costs of the drone strikes themselves have become more evident.

Reports of innocent civilians killed by drones have shaken the claims of precise targeting. The strikes have become a staple of Al Qaeda propaganda, cited to support the notion that the United States is at war with Islam .

They have been described by convicted terrorists as a motivation for their crimes, including the failed attack on a Detroit-bound airliner in 2009 and the attempted car bombing of Times Square in 2010, the report said.

Islamabad: Drone strikes in Pakistan have fallen sharply since their peak in 2010, perhaps in response to increasing scrutiny of the programme by the US Congress and the American public, according to a media report.

This comes just ahead of President Barack Obama's long-awaited address on drones at Washington's National Defence University on Thursday.

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and Brookings Institution scholar, said in Foreign Policy magazine there were many reasons for the declining number of strikes in Pakistan, said a report in the New York Times.

Riedel said that at the top of the list is a growing awareness of the cost of drone strikes in US- Pakistan relations. They are deadly to any hope of reversing the downward slide in ties with the fastest growing nuclear weapons state in the world, he added.

Current and former officials say the reasons include a shrinking list of important Al Qaeda targets, a result of the success of past strikes and transient factors ranging from bad weather to diplomatic strains. But more broadly, the decline may reflect a changing calculation of the long-term costs and benefits of targeted killings.

Obama administration officials have sometimes contrasted the drone programme's relative precision, economy and safety for Americans with the huge costs in lives and money of the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Over time, however, the costs of the drone strikes themselves have become more evident.

Reports of innocent civilians killed by drones have shaken the claims of precise targeting. The strikes have become a staple of Al Qaeda propaganda, cited to support the notion that the United States is at war with Islam .

They have been described by convicted terrorists as a motivation for their crimes, including the failed attack on a Detroit-bound airliner in 2009 and the attempted car bombing of Times Square in 2010, the report said.

(ANI)


First Published: Thursday, May 23, 2013, 15:54


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