WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have jumped dramatically this year, an apparent prelude to the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, officials say.
In the last 10 days, there have been seven drone attacks, the latest Thursday, The Washington Post reported Friday. In 2012, such attacks had declined to less than one a week.
With fewer than 6,000 U.S. troops expected to remain in Afghanistan after 2014, the strikes "may be a signal to groups that include not just al-Qaeda that the U.S. will still present a threat," said Seth Jones, a counter-terrorism expert at the Rand Corp.
The strikes have taken out high-ranking militants. Maulvi Nazir, a Taliban commander who allegedly planned crossed-border raids and protected al-Qaida fighters, was among those killed. Also killed was Wali Mohammed, believed to be a director of suicide operations for the Taliban.
The drone attacks haven't been publicly protested by Pakistan.