While in the past the CIA has expressed concerns that an end to the military occupation of Afghanistan would seriously complicate their drone war in neighboring Pakistan, officials are now saying it’s not a big concern.
Officials now say that with or without the occupation, the CIA program in Pakistan could continue on for many years to come. The CIA is said to have made unspecified arrangements to keep the drones flying.
Exactly what that means is unclear, but the CIA program has in the past used Afghanistan as a staging area for drone strikes, and also operated out of military Forward Operating Bases along the border to recruit spies in the tribal areas.
Without a military occupation, the CIA could likely continue some operations inside Afghanistan, but it would be much harder for them to cover up the nature of the program.