Until the spring of this year, drone attacks on targets in Pakistan were steadily climbing. On March 17 a CIA-ordered attack killed several civilians, who were trying to settle a dispute with members of the Taliban. Pakistani officials had harsh words for the U.S. about killing innocent civillians, and now it seems the CIA will be held to a higher level of scrutiny when attacks are ordered.
Among the changes: The State Department won greater sway in strike decisions; Pakistani leaders got advance notice about more operations; and the CIA agreed to suspend operations when Pakistani officials visit the U.S.
The State Department is engaged in negotiations with Pakistan, trying to strengthen bonds in order to help take down the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan, and those meetings become more and more precarious when drone strikes miss their intended targets. The article goes on to say, “The drone program over the past decade has moved from a technological oddity to a key element of U.S. national-security policy. The campaign has killed more than 1,500 suspected militants on Pakistani soil since Mr. Obama took office in 2009, according to government officials.” The CIA still has the final word on whether a strike will take place, but it will have to make a stronger case before a strike is ordered.
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