The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that “The CIA has not bombed Pakistan for 55 days, the longest pause between drone strikes in Pakistan of Obama’s presidency yet recorded by the Bureau.” (For reference, the group’s estimates of the number of attacks and casualties have generally been on the higher end compared with other sources.)
As the Washington Post noted earlier this month, “The current pause follows a November strike that killed Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud just days before an initial attempt at peace talks [between Islamabad and the Pakistani Taliban] was scheduled to begin.” The previous longest pause followed the accidental killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers at a border crossing in 2011.
It’s not at all clear whether this marks a change in policy, or just a pause requested by the Pakistani government as it pursues talks with the Taliban. Suspected U.S. drone strikes have been carried out in Somalia and Yemen during this period. A report released today by Human Rights Watch demands an investigation into the drone strike that may have killed up to a dozen civilians at a wedding party in Yemen in December.
Reports also came out earlier this month that the U.S. is debating whether to launch a drone attack against a U.S. citizen who is a member of al-Qaida in Pakistan. There is evidence that overall, the U.S. is relying less on drone strikes, but it seems quite possible that strikes could pick up again after this current pause.
TODAY IN SLATE
Meet the New Bosses
How the Republicans would run the Senate.
The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Photos of the Crowds That Took Over NYC for the People’s Climate March
Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom
This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?
A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.