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CIA winds down Pakistan drone program: report

WASHINGTON: United States media reports claimed that the CIA’s drone program in Pakistan is being winding down, ARY News reported on Friday.

The program, once the mainstay of President Obama’s counterterrorism strategy is being closed due to new realities in the region, US news agency reports.

There hasn’t been a US drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal areas since December. The opportunities for drone attacks will dwindle further as the CIA and the military draw down in neighboring Afghanistan, reducing their intelligence-gathering footprint.

Obama announced this week a plan to pull nearly all American troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2016.

The targeted killing program in Pakistan relies on drones flown from, and intelligence gathered in, US bases in Afghanistan that would then be closed.

Several factors are driving the change, US officials say. Many of the senior al Qaeda figures in Pakistan have been killed. Those who remain are much harder to target because they are avoiding mobile phones and traveling with children.



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