The U.S. Hasn’t Bombed Pakistan for Almost Two Months. How Long Will It Last?

How It Works
Feb. 20 2014 3:01 PM

The Drone War Is On Hold in Pakistan

459364229-activists-from-the-muttahida-shehri-mahaz-shout-slogans
Activists shout slogans as they protest against a U.S. drone attack in Multan on Dec. 26, 2013.

Photo by S.S. Mirza/AFP/Getty Images

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.

Advertisement

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.  

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Altered State
Sept. 17 2014 11:51 PM The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 18 2014 6:00 AM All Shook Up My 11-year-old has been exploring herself with my “back massager.” Should I stop her?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?