April 28, 2015 | Quote
American, Italian Hostages Killed in CIA Drone Strike in January
It was the first known instance in which the Central Intelligence Agency killed hostages in a drone strike. The deaths were a major blow to the spy agency, which conducts the attacks largely behind a cloak of secrecy.
The CIA used rules of engagement that allow drone strikes against suspected militants even if the agency isn’t sure who they are.
In recent years, the number of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan has declined sharply, as U.S. military forces have pulled out of Afghanistan and as more of the group’s leaders were killed, casting doubt on its ability to carry out large-scale attacks on the U.S. The decline also coincided with growing criticism of the program by human rights groups and Pakistan’s government.
The U.S. has conducted five drone strikes in Pakistan so far in 2015, well below the peak pace of 117 strikes in 2010, according to the Long War Journal, a website that tracks drone strikes in Pakistan.
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