Bad news for Pakistan: Donald Trump gives CIA authority to carry out drone strikes

Namrata Tripathi
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United States President Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency authorisation to carry out drone strikes against terror organisations. The move could have implications for Pakistan, a country where the intelligence agency keeps regular vigilance owing to the nation's home-grown terrorism.

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Trump's actions also mark a significant change from the policies of the Obama administration under which only the Department of Defence was authorised to carry out such drone strikes and the CIA used drones to gather intelligence information instead of executing attacks, unnamed sources told the Wall Street Journal.

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The CIA and the White House have not yet responded to the authenticity of the news report.

"The Trump administration is also giving the military more authority to conduct operations on its own without first getting a sign off from the Pentagon or the White House," the report said.

According to New America, a Washington DC based think-tank, before the Obama administration changed policies of drone strikes and gave the authorisation only to Department of Defence, the CIA mostly used to conduct drone strikes in Pakistan.

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Reports state that the drone strikes in Pakistan resulted in the death of at least 1,904 people. American scholars Peter Bergen and David Sterman reckon that the figure of deaths due to CIA drone strikes could be as high as 3,114.

Former President Barack Obama had halted US drone strikes in the last eight month of his administration. However, concerns of the presence of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan by top Pentagon generals have recently started cropping up.

The CIA drone strikes have also proven successful in eliminating high profile terrorists from Pakistan.

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"The United States has killed more than 50 al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders in Pakistan since the beginning of the CIA drone campaign," Bergen and Sterman wrote in a CNN op-ed.

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