CIA pitches for use of drones in Afghan

The Asian Age - - World -

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.

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