The White House confirms that the U.S. military has unmanned drone aircraft in Ethiopia, but says no strike missions are being launched from the East African country.
Spokesman Jay Carney says the aircraft are in Ethiopia to promote stability in the Horn of Africa and to counter terrorism.
Drones are often called the weapon of choice in President Barack Obama's administration, which quadrupled drone strikes against al-Qaida targets in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas.
The unmanned planes are controlled from military bases that can be as far away as the U.S. They can fly undetected at heights of up to 50,000 feet, far above that of most manned aircraft.
The existence of U.S. military drones in Ethiopia was first reported by The Washington Post.