Kerry defends US drone policy after Pakistan hit

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Secretary of State John Kerry gestures as he speaks during a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at the State Department in Washington, Friday, May 31, 2013. The U.S. and Germany say Russia must not provide the Assad regime of Syria with an advanced air defense system that they believe could prolong Syria's civil war. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry is defending U.S. drone strikes after the CIA's killing of a senior Taliban member.

Kerry says the U.S. is at war with al-Qaida and the Taliban, so the strikes are legal. He says the U.S. wages the war in self-defense and as a last resort.

U.S. drone policy is under growing scrutiny. President Barack Obama promised greater transparency last week and said attacks would target only "imminent threats" to U.S. national security.

On Wednesday, a CIA strike killed a Pakistani Taliban deputy leader.

Kerry says drones have killed dozens of highly-trained al-Qaida commanders, trainers, bomb makers and operatives. He says drones have disrupted plots against planes, U.S. transit systems, European cities and American troops in Afghanistan.

Kerry says, quote, "Those strikes have saved lives."