(ISLAMABAD) — Fewer U.S. drone strikes against enemy targets in Pakistan recently have allowed the Taliban, al Qaeda, and other extremists groups to become stronger and more dangerous.
There were close to 120 missile attacks by the CIA in 2010, according to website The Long War Journal, but that number shrunk in half last year, as the Obama administration bowed to pressure from Pakistan. The White House and Pentagon do not comment directly on drone strikes.
The Pakistani government has repeatedly objected to the drone strikes, calling them a violation of their sovereignty. For the past two months, the CIA has held off on these missile attacks because of an incident near the border with Afghanistan in November that left two dozen Pakistani soldiers dead.
Islamic militants have used this lull and the overall cutback in drone strikes in general to smooth over the differences of rival factions and regroup. The results have been more assaults on Pakistani security forces and greater threats against U.S. and Afghan troops next door.
Still, U.S. officials, while conceding that the CIA has conducted fewer drone strikes, maintain that they could resume in earnest at any time in order to exploit their enemies’ complacency.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Faith Karimi and Chuck Johnston, CNN
Schams Elwazer, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Tim Hume, CNN
Ralph Ellis, Ben Wedeman and Michael Pearson, CNN
Steve Almasy, CNN