CIA pitches for use of drones in Afghan
Washington, Sept 16: The CIA is pushing for further powers to conduct covert drone strikes in Afghanistan and other war zones, a proposal that the White House apparently favour according to, current and former, intelligence and military officials, according to a report in the New York Times.
If US President Donald Trump approves, this would mark the first time the CIA would have such powers in Afghanistan, expanding beyond its existing authority to carry out covert strikes against Al Qaeda and other terrorist targets across the border in Pakistan, reports the New York Times.
The changes are being gauged as part of a extensive push inside the White House to ease Obama-era restraints on how the CIA and military fight militants around the world.
Until now, the Pentagon has had the lead role for conducting airstrikes against militants in Afghanistan and other conflict zones, such as Somalia and Libya and, to some extent, Yemen. The military publicly acknowledges its strikes, unlike the CIA, which for roughly a decade has carried out its own campaign of covert drone strikes in Pakistan that were not acknowledged by either country, a condition that Pakistan’s government has long insisted on.
But Mike Pompeo, CIA’s director, has made a forceful case to President Trump in recent weeks that the Obama-era arrangement needlessly limited the United States’ ability to conduct counterterrorism operations.