The Obama administration is facing criticism over a report that the United States has decided to sharply cut back on drone attacks in Pakistan. U.S. officials tell the Washington Post that the reduction in drone strikes comes at the request of Pakistan's government.
The story has two parts, according to chief White House correspondent Major Garrett.
"One is the United States has dramatically curtailed drone attacks in Pakistan," he explained on "CBS This Morning." "These strikes from unmanned aerial vehicles are deeply unpopular in Pakistan and routinely incite protests. The Obama administration has not launched a drone attack inside Pakistan since December. (A strike in November) killed top Pakistan Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud."
The second part of the story is Pakistan's efforts to negotiate a peace deal with Taliban fighters occupying the most remote areas of the northern frontier and also near the Afghanistan border.
The peace talks, begun under the new Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, were about to begin in November, but they were halted after that U.S. drone strike took out the Pakistan Taliban commander Mehsud.
"The White House denies it has cut any specific formalized deal with Pakistan to curtail these drone strikes while the peace talks continue," Garrett said. "But the United States and these White House officials don’t deny there's been this sharp decline in drone strikes, but they won't even call that a coincidence, saying the United States remains willing and able to identify and disrupt terror attacks throughout the Afghan war theater, which, of course, includes those Pakistani badlands."
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