WASHINGTON - As the Obama administration cuts down the number of drone attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen, the US military is shifting its huge fleet of unmanned aircraft to other hot spots around the world.

“This next phase of drone warfare is focused more on spying than killing and will extend the Pentagon’s robust surveillance networks far beyond traditional, declared combat zones,” according to Washington Post

Over the past decade, it said, the Pentagon has collected more than 400 Predators, Reapers, Hunters, Gray Eagles and other high-altitude drones that have revolutionized counterterrorism operations.

The Post said that some of the unmanned aircraft will return home with US troops when they leave Afghanistan, but many of the drones will redeploy to fresh frontiers.

The drones in new frontiers will spy on a melange of armed groups, drug runners, pirates and other targets that worry US officials.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, the US Air Force has drone hubs in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to conduct reconnaissance over the Persian Gulf, the report said.

According to the report, in Africa, the US Air Force began flying unarmed drones over the Sahara five months ago to track al-Qaeda fighters and rebels in northern Mali.

The Pentagon has also set up drone bases in Ethiopia, Djibouti and Seychelles. In an April speech, Deputy Defence Secretary Ashton B. Carter said the Pentagon is planning for the first time to send Reaper drones, a bigger, faster version of the Predator, to parts of Asia other than Afghanistan.

A Defence Department spokeswoman said the military is committed to increasing its surveillance in Asia and the Pacific, according to the report.