WASHINGTON – The CIA's drone program in Pakistan, once the mainstay of President Barack Obama's counterterrorism effort, is winding down. There hasn't been a drone strike in Pakistan since last Christmas.
In a major foreign policy speech at the U.S. Military Academy on Wednesday, Obama said the U.S. would continue to carry out occasional drone strikes. But he cited Yemen and Somalia, not Pakistan, where drone missiles once rained down at a rate of two per week.
Armed CIA drones are still flying regularly over Pakistan's tribal areas, and U.S. officials don't rule out targeting senior al-Qaida leaders. But the program will be more difficult to carry out under the plan Obama announced this week to pull nearly all American troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2016.