Template:Infobox Military Conflict

The United States government, led by the Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division, has made a series of attacks on targets in Pakistan since 2004 using drones (unmanned aerial vehicles).[1] Under the George W. Bush administration, these controversial attacks were called a part of the US' "War on Terrorism" and sought to defeat the Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants who were thought to have found a safe haven in Pakistan.[1] Most of these attacks are on targets in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Northwest Pakistan.

These strikes are mostly carried out by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) operated remotely from Creech Air Force Base and have continued under the Presidency of Barack Obama.[2][3] Generally the UAVs used are MQ-1 Predator and more recently MQ-9 Reaper firing AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. The drones have become a weapon of choice for the United States in the fight against al-Qaeda.[4] Some media refer to the series of attacks as a "drone war".[5][6] Pakistan's government publicly condemns these attacks but has secretly shared intelligence with Americans[7] and also allowed the drones to operate from Shamsi airfield in Pakistan.[8]


US Drone Strike Statistics[9]
Year Number of Drone Strikes Total Killed
2004 1 5
2005 2 7
2006 2 23
2007 4 74
2008 33 296
2009 53 709
2010 50 465
Died of Injuries on unknown date - 153
Total 145 1,732
Projection for 2010 77 834


2004 - 2007Edit


  • January 29, 2008: Abu Laith al-Libi killed in a strike in North Waziristan along with 11 other militants.[18][19]
  • February 27, 2008: 12 people killed in a strike near Kalosha village in South Waziristan.[20]
  • March 18, 2008: 16 killed in a strike in South Waziristan[21]
  • May 14, 2008: 12 including Abu Sulayman Al-Jazairi killed near village of Damadola, Bajaur.[22][23]
  • June 14, 2008: US drones fired 3 missiles at a potential hideout of TTP leader Meshud killing 1 person.[24]
  • July 28, 2008: Midhat Mursi and 5 other Al-Qaeda operatives killed in South Waziristan.[19]
  • August 13, 2008: US drone strike on a compound run by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar killed Taliban commander Abdul Rehman, along with Islam Wazir, three Turkmen, and several Arab fighters. Up to 25 militants were killed in this strike.[25]
  • August 20, 2008: US drones fired two missiles that hit a compound in South Waziristan killing 8 militants.[26]
  • August 30, 2008: Missile strike on Al-Qaeda training camp in South Waziristan kills two militants carrying Canadian passports.[27]
  • August 31, 2008: US drones destroy a house in Tappi village in Miranshah killing 6 people and injuring 8 including 1 woman and 1 child.[28]
  • September 4, 2008: US drones fired missiles at a house in Char Khel in North Waziristan killing 4 people.[29]
  • September 5, 2008: US drones fired three missiles destroying a house which was potentialy hosting Arab foreign fighters killing at least 6.[30]
  • September 8, 2008: 23 killed in Daande Darpkhel airstrike, near Miranshah, North Waziristan.
  • September 12, 2008: 12 killed in Miranshah airstrike.
  • September 17, 2008: US drone attack in Baghar Cheena region of South Waziristan kills 5 militants including Al Qaeda operative Abu Ubaydah al Tunisi.[31]
  • September 30, 2008: 6 killed in a strike near Mir Ali, North Waziristan.[32]
  • October 3, 2008: Two drone attacks hours apart in Datta Khel region of North Waziristan kills 21 militants including 16 foreigners.[33]
  • October 9, 2008: US drone strike killed at least 6 militants including 3 Arabs in Tappi village near Miranshah, North Waziristan.[34]
  • October 11, 2008: US drone strike at a militant compound in North Waziristan killed 5 people and wounded 2 others.[35]
  • October 16, 2008: Senior Al-Qaeda leader Khalid Habib killed in a strike near Taparghai, South Waziristan, along with five other Al Qaeda or Taliban members.[36][37]
  • October 22, 2008: 4 killed in a village near Miranshah by missiles fired from suspected US drone.[38]
  • October 26, 2008: 20 killed in a strike in South Waziristan.[39]
  • October 31, 2008: Two missiles fired by US drones kills 7 in Wana, South Waziristan.[40]
  • October 31, 2008: 20 killed including Al-Qaeda operative Abu Akash and Mohammad Hasan Khalil al-Hakim (alias Abu Jihad al-Masri) after 4 missiles hit Waziristan.[19][41]
  • November 7, 2008: US drones fired 4 missiles killing up to 14 militants in Kumsham, North Waziristan.[42]
  • November 14, 2008: 12 killed in a strike near Miranshah.[43]
  • November 19, 2008: Abdullah Azam al-Saudi and 4 other militants killed in Bannu district.[19]
  • November 22, 2008: British Al-Qaeda operative Rashid Rauf and 4 others including Abu Zubair al-Masri killed in a strike in North Waziristan.[19][44]
  • November 29, 2008: US drone strike on Miranshah, North Waziristan kills 3 people.[45]
  • December 11, 2008: US drone strike in Azam Warzak, South Waziristan, kills 7 militants.[46]
  • December 15, 2008: US drone strike in Tapi Tool region near Miram Shah, North Waziristan kills 2.[47]
  • December 22, 2008: At least 8 killed in South Waziristan by suspected US drone strike.[48]


January to JuneEdit

File:MQ-9 Afghanistan takeoff 1 Oct 07.JPG
  • January 1, 2009: 2 senior al-Qaeda leaders Usama al-Kini and Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan killed in a missile strike by U.S. drones.[19][49]
  • January 2, 2009: US drone strike in Ladha, South Waziristan kills 4 people.[50]
  • January 23, 2009: In the first attacks since Barack Obama became U.S. president, at least 14 killed in Waziristan in 2 separate attacks by 5 missiles fired from drones.[51]
  • February 14, 2009: More than 30 killed when two missiles are launched by drones near town of Makeen in South Waziristan.[52]
  • February 16, 2009: Strike in Kurram Valley kills 30, reportedly at a Taliban training camp for fighters preparing to combat coalition forces in Afghanistan.[27][53]
  • March 1, 2009: Strike in Sararogha village in South Waziristan kills 7 people.[54]
  • March 7, 2009: Taliban militants shot down one of the two UAVs over a village in South Waziristan.[55]
  • March 12, 2009: 24 killed in attack in Berju in Kurram Agency.[56]
  • March 15, 2009 4 killed in Jani Khel in Bannu district in North-West Frontier Province.[57]
  • March 25, 2009: 7 killed in attacks on 2 vehicles by two missiles in Makin area of South Waziristan at 6:30pm.[58]
  • March 26, 2009: 4 killed in Essokhel area in North Waziristan.[59]
  • April 1, 2009: 14 killed in Orakzai Agency tribal area.[60][61]
  • April 4, 2009: 13 killed in North Waziristan.[62]
  • April 8, 2009: 4 killed in attack on a vehicle in Gangi Khel in South Waziristan.[63]
  • April 19, 2009: At least 3 killed and 5 injured in an attack in South Waziristan[64]
  • April 29, 2009: US drone strike in Kanni Garam village in South Waziristan kills 6 people.[65]
  • May 9, 2009: US drone strike in Sararogha in South Waziristan kills 6 people.[66]
  • May 12, 2009: US drone strike in Sra Khawra village in South Waziristan kills 8 people.[67]
  • May 16, 2009: US drone strike in village of Sarkai Naki in North Waziristan kills 25 people.[68]
  • June 14, 2009: US drone strike on a vehicle in South Waziristan kills 5 people.[69]
  • June 18, 2009: Two US drone strikes in Shahalam village in South Waziristan kills atleast 13 people.[70][71]
  • June 23, 2009: US drone strike in Neej Narai in South Waziristan kills at least 8 people.[72][73]
  • June 23, 2009: Makeen airstrike kills at least 80 but misses Baitullah Mehsud in the town of Makeen, many of which were attending the funerals of people killed in the air strikes earlier in the day.[74][75][76]

July to DecemberEdit

  • July 3, 2009: US Drone kills 17 people and injures a further 27.[77]
  • July 7, 2009: US drone strike in Zangarha in South Waziristan kills at least 12 people.[78]
  • July 8, 2009: US drone strike on a hideout in Karwan Manza area and on a vehicle convoy in South Waziristan kills at least 50 people.[79]
  • July 10, 2009: US drones take out a Taliban communication center killing between 5-8 militants in Painda Khel, South Waziristan.[80]
  • July 17, 2009: US drone strike on a house in North Waziristan kills 4 people.[81]
  • August 5, 2009: US drone strike in South Waziristan killed 12, including Baitullah Mehsud, his wife, and his wife's parents.[82][83] The kill was confirmed after weeks of uncertainty over their fate.[84][85][86][87][88]
  • August 11, 2009: US drone strike in Ladda village, South Waziristan, kills 10.[89]
  • August 21, 2009: US drone strike on the village of Darpa Kheil, North Waziristan, reportedly targeting Sirajuddin Haqqani kills at least 21 people.[90][91][92]
  • August 27, 2009: US drone missile strike on the Tapar Ghai area in the Kanigram (Kanigoram) district in South Waziristan kills at 8 people.[93][94] One of the dead was reportedly Tohir Yo‘ldosh (Tahir Yuldash), leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.[95][96]
  • September 8, 2009: US drone fired missiles kill 10 in North Waziristan.[97] The attack may have killed al Qaeda leaders Ilyas Kashmiri and Mustafa al Jaziri as well as three Punjabi militants and two or three local Taliban fighters.[98]
  • September 14, 2009: US drone fired missile kills four people in a car 1.5 miles from Mir Ali in North Waziristan.[99]
  • September 24, 2009: US drone fired missile kills up to 12 people in the village of Dande Darpa Khel near Mir Ali.[100]
  • September 29, 2009: Two missile attacks take place. In the first, a drone attack reportedly killed six Taliban, including two Uzbek fighters and Taliban commander Irfan Mehsud, in a compound in Sararogha village, South Waziristan. In the second, a missile killed seven insurgents in a house in Dandey Darpakhel village, North Waziristan.[101][102]
  • September 30, 2009: US drones fire missiles at a Taliban compound and vehicle killing 8 in Novak, North Waziristan.[103]
  • October 15, 2009: US drone missile killed at least four people in North Waziristan.[104]
  • October 21, 2009: Alleged US drone missile killed two or three alleged militants in Spalaga, North Waziristan in territory controlled by Hafiz Gul Bahadur.[105][106] One of those killed was reportedly Abu Ayyub al-Masri (not the same as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader), an explosives expert for Al Qaeda and a "Tier 1" target of US counterterrorism operations.[107]
  • October 24, 2009: Alleged US drone strike killed 27, in Damadolla , inside Bajaur tribal agency.[108][109] The 27 victims were reportedly a mix of Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives engaged in a planning and strategy meeting. The dead apparently included 11 "foreigners". One of those reported killed was Faqir Mohammed's nephew, Zahid and another was Mohammed's unnamed son-in-law. The meeting was apparently being held to decide on whether to reinforce South Wazaristan against Pakistani forces, which Mohammed advocates, or exploit recent successes in the Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan, which Al Qaeda wishes to do.[110]
  • November 5, 2009: 2 killed in Miranshah town in North Waziristan.[111]
  • November 18, 2009: 4 killed and 5 injured in Shanakhora village of North Waziristan, 12 miles south of Miranshah.[112][113]
  • November 20, 2009: 8 killed in the Machikhel area near the town of Mir Ali.[114]
  • December 8, 2009: 3 killed in a car near Miranshah in North Waziristan, reportedly including 2 Al Qaeda members.[37][115] Senior Al qaeda planner Saleh al-Somali, from Somalia, is believed killed in this strike.[116]
  • December 9, 2009: Six killed in Tanga, Ladha, South Waziristan, reportedly consisting of four Al Qaeda and two Taliban members.[37]
  • December 17, 2009: 17 killed in 2 separate attacks in North Waziristan in an area controlled by Hafiz Gul Bahadur. In the first attack, two missiles hit a car near Dosali, killing two. In the second attack, 10 missiles fired by five drones hit two compounds in Ambarshaga, killing 15 people. Unnamed sources stated that seven of the dead were "foreigners."[117][118]
  • December 18, 2009: 3 killed in an attack in Dattakhel region in North Waziristan.[119]
  • December 26, 2009: 13 killed in an attack in Saidgai village in North Waziristan[120]
  • December 30, 2009: A suicide bomber killed at least six CIA officers and seriously injured six others at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Afghanistan, which is used by the Central Intelligence Agency to coordinate drone attacks in Pakistan. The Haqqani network claimed responsibility.[121]
  • December 31, 2009: Four killed in an attack in Machikhel village in North Waziristan. According to The Frontier Post, senior Taliban leader and strong Haqqani ally Haji Omar Khan, brother of Arif Khan, was killed in the strike along with the son of local tribal leader Karim Khan.[121][122]

In January 2010, al Qaeda in Pakistan announced that Lashkar al-Zil leader Abdullah Said al Libi was killed in a drone missile strike. Neither al Qaeda nor the US has revealed the date of the attack which killed Libi, but it appears to have taken place in December 2009.[123]


January to MarchEdit

  • January 1, 2010: Missile strike on a vehicle near Ghundikala village in North Waziristan kills 3.[124][125]
  • January 3, 2010: 5 people including 3 Arabs killed in an attack on Mosakki village in North Waziristan.[125][126]
  • January 6, 2010: 2 separate missile strikes one hour apart kill approximately 35 people in Sanzalai village, North Waziristan.[125][127][128]
  • January 8, 2010: Missile strike in Tappi village in North Waziristan killed 5 people. It is alleged that all the militants killed were local and were attached to Taliban Commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur.[125][129]
  • January 9, 2010: 4 killed and three injured when 2 missiles are fired on a compound in village Ismail Khan in North Waziristan, territory of the Haqqani network.[130] Mahmoud Mahdi Zeidan, bodyguard for al Qaeda leader Sayeed al-Masri, was reported killed in either the January 8 or 9 airstrike.[131] Jamal Saeed Abdul Rahim who was allegedly involved in hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in 1986 was also reported killed in this strike.[125][132]
  • January 13, 2010: Missile strike in Pasalkot village in a compound formerly used as a religious school in North Waziristan killed 15 people among them 3 militant commanders.[133] The apparent target of the strike was, Hakimullah Mehsud, who reportedly left the compound before the attack occurred.[134]
  • January 15, 2010: Missile strike in Zannini village near Mir Ali in North Waziristan kills up to 15 people, probably including Abdul Basit Usman, an al-Qaeda terrorist.[125][135]
  • January 15, 2010: Second missile strike of the day kills 6 in Bichi village in North Waziristan.[135]
  • January 17, 2010: Missile strike in Shaktoi area of South Waziristan kills at least 20 people.[136] The leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud sustained injuries in this attack. It was initially believed he died but it was later learned that he survived.[137]
  • January 19, 2010: Two missiles fired at a compound and vehicle in Booya village of Datakhel sub-division, 35 km west of Miranshah, in North Waziristan kills 9 people.[125][138]
  • January 29, 2010: 15 killed when drones fire 3 missiles on a compound belonging to Haqqani network in Muhammad Khel town in North Waziristan.[125][139][140][141]
  • February 2, 2010: Up to 8 US drones fired missiles at 4 different villages of North Waziristan killing at least 29 people.[142][143]
  • February 14, 2010: 5 killed in a strike near Mir Ali in North Waziristan.[144]
  • February 15, 2010: Abdul Haq al-Turkistani, leader of the Turkistani Islamic Party, is killed by a drone missile strike in North Waziristan.[145]
  • February 17, 2010: Three militants killed by a missile strike near Tapi, Miramshah, North Waziristan. One of those killed was reportedly Sheikh Mansoor, a commander in the Lashkar al Zil.[146]
  • February 18, 2010: 4 killed in a strike in Northwest Waziristan including Mohammed Haqqani, the brother of Afghan Taliban commander Siraj who leads the Haqqani network.[147][148] The missiles hit a vehicle belonging to Siraj that Mohammed was riding in, but Siraj was not in the vehicle at the time.[149] Mohammed and Siraj were reportedly attending the funeral of Sheikh Mansoor, who had been killed by a drone strike the day before.[146][147][148]
  • February 24, 2010: Missiles fired by a US drone killed at least 13 militants at a compound and at a vehicle in the Dargah Mandi area of North Waziristan. Among the dead include Bahadar Mansoor, head of Badar Mansoor group, and Rana Afzal, the man behind the FIA HQ bombing in Lahore. Mohammed Qari Zafar, the head of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the person responsible for the 2002 and 2006 bombing of the U.S. consulate in Karachi was thought to be killed in this Drone strike but it was later proved that he survived the attack.[150][151][152][153] He died on June 14, 2010 when he accidentally touched some explosives which set them off killing him in the ensuing explosion in a guesthouse he was staying in North Waziristan.[154]
  • March 8, 2010: Three missiles fired by US drone aircraft killed five militants and wounded three in Miranshah.[155] It is alleged that Hussein al-Yemeni (also called Sadam Hussein Al Hussami), an Al Qaeda terrorist who planned the Camp Chapman attack died in this strike.[156]
  • March 10, 2010: Missiles fired from drones struck a compound and three vehicles in the village of Mizar Madakhel in North Waziristan. The attack killed at least 12 and as many as 21 militants. Five drones reportedly attacked in two waves. First, four missiles struck and demolished the compound. After local militants cordoned off the area and began recovering bodies, a second volley of missiles struck. Hafiz Gul Bahadar, a local Taliban leader and chief of the North Waziristan Shura, may have been killed in the strike.[157][158]
  • March 16, 2010: Ten militants were killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan's Datakhel area.[159][160]
  • March 17, 2010: Two US Drone strikes killed 9 militants. In the first attack, the drones fired four missiles at a vehicle and a militant hide-out in Miranshah, killing six militants. About 50 minutes later, drones fired 3 missiles at a vehicle in Madakhel, killing 3 militants.[161]
  • March 21, 2010: US drone fires two missiles in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan killing at least eight people and injuring several others.[162]
  • March 23, 2010: US drones fired two missiles on a militant vehicle parked outside a compound in the suburbs of Miranshah in North Waziristan. At least six militants were killed and three others were wounded.[163]
  • March 27, 2010: Drone strike in Mir Ali in North Waziristan kills 4 militants.[164]
  • March 30, 2010: US drone fired three missiles, destroying a compound owned by Zamir Khan, a local tribesman, and used by militants in the city of Tapi in North Waziristan killing six militants.[165]

April to JuneEdit

  • April 12, 2010: 2 missiles fired by a US drone kill 5 in North Waziristan.[166]
  • April 14, 2010: US drone strike targeting a vehicle killed up to 4 people and injuring 4 others in Anbarshaga area of North Waziristan. All of the dead and injured were Arab militants.[167][168]
  • April 16, 2010: US drones fired at least 7 missiles which hit two vehicles and a house in the Toolkhel area near Miramshah in North Waziristan killing 6 people and injuring 5 others.[169]
  • April 24, 2010: US drones kill 7 militants in North Waziristan in the village of Marsi Khel near Miramshah.[170]
  • April 26, 2010: Three missiles from drones strike a compound in the Khushali Toorkhel area, about 25 km east of Miranshah, North Waziristan, killing four or five. A Pakistani security official stated that those killed were militant followers of local rebel commander Haleem Khan. The official added that Khan has ties to regional Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur.[171][172]
  • May 3, 2010: 4 militants are killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan [173]
  • May 9, 2010: 10 militants are killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan [174][175]
  • May 11, 2010: At least 24 militants are killed in two separate US drone strikes in which the US fired up to 18 missiles. The first strike occurred when missiles struck cars, homes and tents in the Doga area of North Waziristan killing up to 14 militants. Hours later another pair of missiles hit a compound in the Gorwek area of North Waziristan killing another 10 suspected insurgents, including the brother of a reputed Taliban commander, Maulvi Kalam.[176][177]
  • May 15, 2010: At least 15 killed in Khyber Agency in the first such strike in this area.[178][179]
  • May 21, 2010: US drones fired two missiles on a compound used by Afghan warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadur and killed 10 people in Mohammad Khel, North Waziristan. Saeed al-Masri, the current 3rd in command of Al-Qaeda was killed in this strike along with his wife and 3 children.[180][181] Other dead in this strike include two foreign militants, one of whom was reportedly Filipino. Five women and two children were reported injured.[182]
  • May 28, 2010: US drone strike killed 11 militants and wounded three others in the Nazai Narai area of South Waziristan.[183]
  • June 10, 2010: US drone strike killed 3 people in North Waziristan.[184]
  • June 11, 2010: US drones fired 6 missiles on a housing compound near Miran Shah at the Afghan-Pakistan border, killing 15 alleged militants.[185]
  • June 19, 2010: US drone fired a missile striking a house in Haider Khel village near North Waziristan's Mir Ali town killing 16 militants.[186] Al Qaeda leader Abu Ahmed Tarkash was among the dead.[187][188]
  • June 26, 2010:A US missile strike killed 7 militants in Pakistan's tribal region near the Afghan border. The missile, fired by an unmanned drone, destroyed a house near Mir Ali in North Waziristan. One of the dead men was a foreigner.[189]
  • June 27, 2010: A drone strike in North Waziristan killed 5 militants.[190]
  • June 29, 2010: US drone fired two missiles hitting a house near in Wana, South Waziristan killing at least 8 militants including Hamza al-Jufi an Egyptian militant belonging to Al Qaeda.[191][192]

July to CurrentEdit

  • July 15, 2010: A drone strike in North Waziristan killed 14 suspected militants in a region under the control of Hafiz Gul Bahadar.[193][194][195]
  • July 24, 2010: US drones fired two missiles at a militant compound in Nazai Narai area of South Waziristan killing 16 militants.[196]
  • July 25, 2010: US drones fired two missiles and hit a double-cabin pickup carrying militants in Shaktoi village in South Waziristan. Taliban sources said 14 militants were killed and two others were injured in the attack. The militants belonged to the Hakimullah Mehsud-led Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).[197]
  • July 25, 2010: US drones launched their second strike of the day when two missiles hit a house where some militants were having dinner in Landikhel village of Srarogha Tehsil in South Waziristan. Four militants that belonged to TTP were killed and five others sustained injuries.[198]
  • July 25, 2010: US drones launched their unprecedented third strike on the same day when they fired two missiles at a house in Taipi village near Miran Shah, the main town in North Waziristan, killing 7 suspected militants.[199]

US viewpointEdit

Barack Obama authorized the continuation of these strikes after he became US president.[200] Top US officials consider these strikes very successful and believe that the senior al-Qaeda leadership has been decimated by these strikes.[201][202] A list of the high-ranking victims of the drones was provided to Pakistan in 2009.[203] Obama has broadened these attacks to include targets seeking to destabilize Pakistani civilian government and the attacks of February 14 and 16, 2009 were against training camps run by Baitullah Mehsud.[204] On February 25, 2009 Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA indicated the strikes will continue.[205] On March 4, 2009 The Washington Times reported that the drones were targeting Baitullah Mehsud.[206] Obama was reported in March 2009 as considering expanding these strikes to include Balochistan [207]

On March 25, 2010 US State Department legal advisor Harold Koh stated that the drone strikes were legal because of the right to self-defense. According to Koh, the US is involved in an armed conflict with al-Qaida, the Taliban, and their affiliates and therefore may use force consistent with self-defense under international law.[208]

US officials stated in March 2009 that the Predator strikes had killed nine of al-Qaeda's 20 top commanders. The officials added that many top Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders, as a result of the strikes, had fled to Quetta or even further to Karachi.[209]

Some US politicians have condemned the drone strikes. US Congressman Dennis Kucinich asserted that the United States was violating international law by carrying out strikes against a country that never attacked the United States.[210]

US military reports asserted that al-Qaeda is being slowly but systematically routed because of these attacks, and that they have served to sow the seeds of uncertainty and discord among their ranks. They also claimed that the drone attacks have addled and confused the Taliban, and have led them to turn against each other.[211]

During a protest against drone attacks, in an event sponsored by Nevada Desert Experience, Father Louie Vitale, Kathy Kelly, Stephen Kelly, SJ, Eve Tetaz, John Dear, and others were arrested outside Creech Air Force Base on Wednesday April 9, 2009.[212][213]

In May 2009 it was reported that the USA was sharing drone intelligence with Pakistan.[214] Leon Panetta reiterated on May 19, 2009 that the US intended to continue the drone attacks.[215]

On July 20, 2009, the Brookings Institution released a report stating that ten civilians died in the drone attacks for every militant killed.[216] It suggested the real answer to halting al-Qaeda's activity in Pakistan will be long-term support of Pakistan's counterinsurgency efforts.[217] In July 2009 it was reported that (according to US officials) Osama Bin Laden's son Saad bin Laden was believed to have been killed in a drone attack earlier in the year.[218]

In December 2009 expansion of the drone attacks was authorized by President Barack Obama to parallel the decision to send 30,000 more American troops to Afghanistan.[219] Senior US officials are reportedly pushing for extending the strikes into Quetta in Balochistan against the Quetta Shura.[220] Speaking at a news conference in Islamabad on January 7, 2010 Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman stated the drone attacks were effective and would continue but stated that US would make greater efforts to prevent collateral damage.[221] In an effort to strenghthen trust with Pakistan 'US sharing drone surveillance data with Pakistan, says Mike Mullen '[222] US defence budget for 2011 asked for a 75% increase in funds to enhance the drone operations.[223]

The Associated Press (AP) noted that Barack Obama apparently expanded the scope and increased the aggressiveness of the drone campaign against militants in Pakistan after taking office. According to the news agency, the US increased strikes against the Pakistani Taliban, which earned favor from the Pakistani government, resulting in increased cooperation from Pakistani intelligence services. Also, the Obama administration toned down the US government's public rhetoric against Islamic terrorism, garnering better cooperation from other Islamic governments. Furthermore, with the drawdown of the war in Iraq, more drones, support personnel, and intelligence assets became available for the campaigns in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Since Obama took office, according to the AP, the number of drones operated by the CIA over Afghanistan and Pakistan doubled.[224] A May 2010 Reuters report quoted unnamed counterterrorism officials who speculated that the Obama administration's closure of the secret CIA interrogation centers and intent to close the Guantanamo Bay prison was a direct influence on the expansion of the drone assassinations. According to the officials, the killings are necessary because there is no longer any place to put captured terrorists.[225]

A study called 'The Year of the Drone" published in February 2010 by New America Foundation found that in a total of 114 drone strikes in Pakistan between 2004 and early 2010 approximately between 834 and 1,216 individuals had been killed, about two thirds of whom were thought to be militants and one third were civilians.[226]

According to media reports, in 2009 or 2010 CIA drones began employing smaller missiles in airstrikes in Pakistan in order to reduce collateral damage, including civilian casualties. The new missiles, called the Small Smart Weapon or Scorpion, are reportedly about the size of a violin case (21 inches long) and weigh 16 kg. The missiles are used in combination with new technology to increase accuracy and expanded surveillance, including the use of small, unarmed drones about the size of "pizza platters" to exactly pinpoint the location of targets. The US hopes that civilian casualties will decrease, thereby decreasing public outrage over the missile strikes.[227][228]

Pakistani responseEdit

Template:Campaignbox Waziristan

File:Image said to be Predator drone aircraft at Shamsi Airbase in Pakistan -- no longer available on Google Earth..jpg

Pakistan has repeatedly protested these attacks as they are an infringement of its sovereignty and because civilian deaths have also resulted, including women and children, which has further angered the Pakistani government and people.[230][231][232] General David Petraeus was told in November 2008 that these strikes were unhelpful.[233] However on October 4, 2008 The Washington Post reported that there was a secret deal between the US and Pakistan allowing these drone attacks.[234] US Senator Dianne Feinstein said in February 2009: “As I understand it, these are flown out of a Pakistani base.”[235] Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi denied that this was true.[236]

Between November 2008 and January 2009 Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy (AIRRA), a think tank of researchers and activists from FATA and NWFP conducted a survey of the public opinion about the drone strikes in Federally Administered Tribal Areas. 5 teams of 5 researchers each interviewed 550 people from all walks of life..[219] Based on the responses the researchers concluded ' The popular notion outside the Pakhtun belt that a large majority of the local population supports the Taliban movement lacks substance'. Most people thought that the drone attacks were accurate and did not lead to anti American sentiment and were effective in damaging the militants. In addition the locals wanted the Pakistani forces to also target the militants.[237] According to Farhat Taj a member of AIRRA the drones have never killed any civilians. Some people in Waziristan compare the drones to Ababils , the holy swallows sent by God to avenge Abraha, the invader of the Khana Kaaba.[238]

In September 28, a spokesman for the Pakistani army condemned Washington's killing of Pakistani civilians and warned of retaliatory action: "Border violations by US-led forces in Afghanistan, which have killed scores of Pakistani civilians, would no longer be tolerated, and we have informed them that we reserve the right to self defense and that we will retaliate if the US continues cross-border attacks."[239]

The British newspaper The Times stated on February 18, 2009 that the CIA was using Shamsi airfield, 190 miles southwest of Quetta and 30 miles from the Afghan border, as its base for drone operations. Safar Khan, a journalist based in the area near Shamsi, told the Times, "We can see the planes flying from the base. The area around the base is a high-security zone and no one is allowed there."[240] [240] Top US officials confirmed to Fox News Channel that Shamsi airfield had been used by the CIA to launch the drones since 2002.[229]

The drone attacks continue, despite repeated requests made by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari through different channels.[241][242] Baitullah Mehsud while claiming responsibility for the 2009 Lahore police academy attacks, stated that it was in retaliation for the drone attacks.[243] According to The Daily Telegraph, Pakistani intelligence has agreed to secretly provide information to the United States on Mehsud's and his militants' whereabouts while publicly the Pakistani government will continue to condemn the attacks.[244] According to Pakistani authorities, from January 14, 2006 to April 8, 2009, 60 U.S. strikes against Pakistan killed 701 people, of which 14 were Al-Qaeda militants and 687 innocent civilians.[245]

On April 28, 2009 Pakistan's consul general to the US, Aqil Nadeem, asked the US to hand over control of its drones in Pakistan to his government. Said Nadeem, "Do we want to lose the war on terror or do we want to keep those weapons classified? If the American government insists on our true cooperation, then they should also be helping us in fighting those terrorists."[246] President Zardari has also requested that Pakistan be given control over the drones but this has been rejected by the US who are worried that Pakistanis will leak information about targets to militants.[68] In December 2009 Pakistan's Defence minister Ahmad Mukhtar acknowledged that Americans were using Shamsi airfield but stated that Pakistan was not satisfied with payments for using the facility.[247]

In an analysis published in Daily Times on January 2, 2010 author Farhat Taj challenged the view that the local people of Waziristan were against the drone attacks. Author states on the basis of personal interviews with people in Waziristan that the locals in Waziristan support the attacks and see the drones as their 'liberators' from the clutches of Taliban and Pakistan's Intelligence agencies. She further challenged the government of Pakistan to provide accurate figures about the 'civilian' casualties and tell what methodology was used to collect this data. According to her 'The people of Waziristan are suffering a brutal kind of occupation under the Taliban and al Qaeda. It is in this context that they would welcome anyone, Americans, Israelis, Indians or even the devil, to rid them of the Taliban and al Qaeda.'[248] In response to this analysis Irfan Husain writing in Dawn agreed with her assessment and called for more drone attacks. He wrote 'We need to wake up to the reality that the enemy has grown very strong in the years we temporized and tried to do deals with them. Clearly, we need allies in this fight. Howling at the moon is not going to get us the cooperation we so desperately need. A solid case can be made for more drone attacks, not less.[249]

United Nations human rights concerns Edit

On June 3, 2009, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) delivered a report sharply critical of US tactics. The report asserted that the US government has failed to keep track of civilian casualties of its military operations, including the drone attacks, and to provide means for citizens of affected nations to obtain information about the casualties and any legal inquests regarding them.[250] Any such information held by the U.S. military is allegedly inaccessible to the public due to the high level of secrecy surrounding the drone attacks program.[251] The US representative at UNHRC has argued that the UN investigator for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions does not have jurisdiction over US military actions,[250] while another US diplomat claimed that the US military is investigating any wrongdoing and doing all it can to furnish information about the deaths.[252]

On October 27, 2009 UNHRC investigator Philip Alston called on the US to demonstrate that it was not randomly killing people in violation of international law through its use of drones on the Afghan border. Alston criticized the US's refusal to respond to date to the UN's concerns. Said Alston, "Otherwise you have the really problematic bottom line, which is that the Central Intelligence Agency is running a program that is killing significant numbers of people and there is absolutely no accountability in terms of the relevant international laws."[253]

On June 2, 2010 Alston's team released a report on its investigation into the drone strikes, criticizing the United States for being, "the most prolific user of targeted killings" in the world. Alston, however, acknowledged that the drone attacks may be justified under the right to self-defense. He called on the US to be more open about the program. Alston's report was submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights the following day.[254]

See alsoEdit


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