Drone Base Expansion Into Central Asia?
After the imminent exit of American troops from Afghanistan, the United States may attempt to maintain military control of the region by putting U.S. drones inside air bases in Central Asia.
The Department of Defense is expected to withdraw all or most of the US soldiers currently stationed in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, significantly shrinking the size of the Pentagon’s physical footprint there for the first time in over 12 years. Along with eliminating boots on the ground, though, the US will also be walking away from the bases that for years have housed the unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, that are responsible for administering lethal missile strikes against suspected insurgents in neighboring Pakistan.
On Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the US is considering moving their drones to air bases elsewhere in Central Asia. Amidst international condemnation, however, relocating the controversial program is likely to come not without opposition.
Citing unnamed US officials, Ken Dilanian and David S. Cloud reported for the Times that the covert American drone strikes carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency could cease as a result of relinquishing bases in Afghanistan near its demarcation line with Pakistan.
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— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.