U.S. Escalating Drone Strikes Amid Fears Pakistan Will Demand Halt
Washington, June 8 (RHC)-- U.S. President Barack Obama has reportedly ordered a major increase in drone strikes inside Pakistan over the past few months in apparent anticipation of the Pakistani government imposing an all-out ban.
According to Bloomberg News, Obama’s reported order may account for the recent spike in drone attacks that have killed scores of people. A number of U.S. officials say they fear Pakistan may order the CIA to vacate the air base it uses to deploy its fleet of Predator drones.
In related news, the United States is reportedly withholding at least $3 billion in an ongoing dispute with Pakistan over the free passage of NATO supply convoys and the U.S. refusal to apologize for a November air strike that mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani troops.
Speaking in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the United States is "reaching the limits" of its patience with Pakistan. The Pentagon chief's visit to Afghanistan came one day after an estimated 18 Afghan civilians were killed in a U.S.-led NATO bombing.