The government under U.S. President Joe Biden has imposed a temporary restriction on anti-terrorism drone strikes outside war zones such as Afghanistan and Syria, The New York Times reports.
It is being investigated whether the rules surrounding such operations, which date back to the tenure of former President Donald Trump, should be made stricter.
Under the temporary new rules, the CIA and the U.S. Armed Forces must obtain approval from the White House before attacking terrorists in countries where the situation is chaotic and where U.S. troops are low, such as Somalia and Yemen.
Under Trump, the CIA and the military were still allowed to intervene at their discretion if an attack was warranted, and certain conditions surrounding the target were met.
The policy change of the Biden administration should help prevent civilian casualties in the U.S. attacks. President Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan instituted the new policy on Jan. 20, the day Biden was inaugurated, insiders said. However, the U.S. government did not publicly disclose the policy change at the time.
Biden leads the fourth U.S. government to make heavy use of drones to attack terrorists. As vice president under Barack Obama, Biden was part of a government that increasingly deployed drones. In his second term, Obama imposed significant restrictions on the use of drones.