US putting off planned ban on its use of cluster bombs

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WASHINGTON – The Pentagon is putting off indefinitely a planned 2019 ban on using certain cluster bombs, which release explosive sub-munitions, or bomblets, that can kill indiscriminately and pose hazards to civilians.

A 2010 international treaty outlaws the use of cluster bombs, but the U.S. is not a signatory to the treaty.

Under a policy set nine years ago by the George Bush administration, the U.S. by Jan. 1, 2019 was to end its use of cluster bombs except those that met a standard of failing to detonate 1 percent of the time or less. The standard is important because unexploded cluster munitions left on the battlefield pose a hazard to civilians.

The Pentagon says it cannot yet achieve the 1 percent standard but will keep trying.

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