President Donald Trump has given the CIA new secret powers for carrying out drone attacks. According to The Wall Street Journal, the agency will now be able to carry out drone attacks on suspected terrorists anywhere in the world. During the Obama presidency, only the Pentagon had the authority for such attacks.
Trump’s policy differs from that of his predecessor, Obama, in that the military role of the CIA under Obama had been limited; the new policy may lead to a tussle between the CIA and the Pentagon, which will be a headache for Trump. What we need to see is what effect the new policy could have on Pakistan.
U.S. drone attacks have been taking place in Pakistan, against which Pakistan has continued to protest, at times in weak terms and at other times severely; the U.S., however, has paid no heed to the matter of Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Pakistan is America’s frontline ally in the war against terrorism, and an agreement is in place between the two countries for information sharing. In view of this agreement, Pakistan requested that the U.S. provide it drone technology; the U.S, however, was not willing to do so. Now Pakistan has been able to construct drones on its own that are being used against terrorists. But the U.S. is still insistent on carrying out its own drone attacks.
The Pentagon has been targeting specific areas in Pakistan for attack. The CIA may, possibly, add to these areas. Pakistan never accepted the attacks that the Pentagon was conducting, nor will it accept possible attacks to be conducted by the CIA. The permission from Pakistan’s parliament already exists for shooting down planes that enter Pakistan’s boundaries illegally. Although this has not been acted upon so far, the option exists – with Pakistan being aware of the results and consequences of taking such a step. This could be the last option available to us. Pakistan needs to devise a strict and rigid strategy for stopping possible drone attacks in the country.