Zero-Option Limits CIA Drones Over Pakistan

RQ-170-2-magnify-560The so-called Zero Option in Afghanistan could put the intelligence collection programs of Al-Qaeda cells in Pakistan at risk, according to a report by the New York Times.

The growth of intelligence surveillance via drones has grown significantly, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, over the last decade. But it’s not just the military that depends on the drones stationed in Afghanistan. The CIA also flies drones out of U.S. bases in Afghanistan.

If a Bilateral Security Agreement is not signed and the U.S. military is forced to pull out all of its troops opposed to the proposed 10,000 that could be left behind to aid the Afghan National Security Forces, all of the U.S. airfields would also be shut down, according to the New York Times report.

The CIA bases the drones it often uses to fly over the Pakistan mountains to monitor Al Qaeda. The closure of these airfields means the drones will have to fly a longer distance to the target and thus have a shorter time on station.

The RQ-170 Sentinel played a key role in collecting data during the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Before the RQ-170 was publicly acknowledged by the military, photos of it kept popping up on blogs after people took pictures of it taking off from Kandahar. If all the bases get shut down, it’s unclear where the Sentinel would fly from to reach Pakistan.


7 Comments on "Zero-Option Limits CIA Drones Over Pakistan"

  1. How about anyone of a few dozen other bases in the region or even the much hyped carrier launch and recovery?

    Does anyone really think this is an obstacle to the CIA doing whatever it wants?

  2. I predict it will take the Taliban less than 2 years to regain control of the country if America totally pulls out. Serves karzai right that corrupt idiot!

  3. The US Navy’s UCLASS program is separate from the Air Force/CIA. So are their missions – the answer does not lie with drone launches from carriers.

  4. We could always pull a Global Hawk out of mothballs – there were several the Chair Force didn't want to use and squirreled away for a rainy day. And from the perspective of the clown Karzai, he rain may soon start a-falling.

  5. I just hope Al-Qaeda does not take over the CIA before we can get Obama out of there.

  6. We shouldn't be giving Afghanistan (Karzai) options.

  7. There has to be a means of continuing the operation of drones over Afghanistan and Pakistan. Perhaps, India can accommodate that but I doubt it somehow. Perhaps, there can be a central Asian republic.

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