Friday, August 2, 2013

Kerry: Drone ‘Program Will End as We Have Eliminated Most of the Threat’ [TWS]

    Secretary of State John Kerry gave several TV interviews while in Islamabad, Pakistan on Thursday, including one to Mariam Chaudhry of Pakistan TV.  One question related to the drone policy of the United States which is extremely unpopular in Pakistan.  In his answer, Kerry seemed to suggest the program, which he said President Obama has "really narrowed," has almost accomplished its goals, not just in Pakistan, but throughout the world [emphasis added]:
QUESTION: ... to speak a little bit more on this terrorism issue, Pakistan has been facing a grievous scenario vis-a-vis internal security. There has been a lot of tension between the United States and Pakistan, especially vis-a-vis the subject of drones. People in Pakistan feel that not only has it been causing human casualty in Pakistan, but also it has been kind of a blatant disregard of the territorial sovereignty of Pakistan. Can we expect a cessation in these drone strikes, which are causing and mobilizing a lot of sentiment against the Pakistani Government and the United States? 
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, President Obama is very, very sensitive and very concerned about any kind of reaction to any kind of counterterrorism activities, whatever they may be. And the President has spoken very directly, very transparently, and very accountably to our – to all of our efforts. We want to work with the Government of Pakistan, not against it. 
This is a program in many parts of the world where the President has really narrowed, whatever it might be doing, to live up to the highest standards with respect to any kind of counterterrorism activities. And I believe that we’re on a good track. I think the program will end as we have eliminated most of the threat and continue to eliminate it. 
QUESTION: And there is no timeline that you envisage for ending this strike? 
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I do. And I think the President has a very real timeline and we hope it’s going to be very, very soon.
    Unlike the broader war in Afghanistan, which President Obama has said will end in 2014, the president has not given any public indication of what this "real timeline" to end the drone program might be.

Note:  A version of this article first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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