Drones are unmanned flying aircraft regularly used by the CIA (in fact, once every four days) to assassinate suspected militants in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The agencies of North and South Waziristan are the main targets, due to a high concentration of Taliban forces. Yet the strikes are not officially recognized by U.S. or Pakistani officials, allowing them to persist in deadly silence. The Janus face of public denial and private cooperation by the Pakistani government is highlighted in the table below:
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism report collects already gathered sources on drones. Of particular interest is the visualized data here. It shows that in 2010, there were 16 children killed, 82 civilians killed, 369 injured, and 907 total killed in drone strikes – which numbered 127 in the same year. A year by year graph shows that 2006 was the deadliest for civilian deaths, at 97. 168 children have died since the strikes started in 2004. The total numbers are as follows:
Total killed: 2,292 – 2,863
Civilians killed: 385 – 775
Total strikes: 291
Obama strikes: 239
Other key findings of the Bureau are as follows:
- 291 CIA attacks have taken place in Pakistan – 8% more than previously reported. Under President Obama alone there have been 236 strikes – one every four days.
- Between 2,292 and 2,863 people are reported to have died in the attacks – most of them militants
- The minimum number of reported deaths is far higher than previously believed – with 40% more recorded casualties. Most of those killed are likely to be low-ranking militants.
- 126 named militants have so far been killed.
- The Bureau has collated credible news reports of 385-775 civilians being killed in the attacks.
- The Bureau has identified credible reports of 164 children killed in the drone strikes. Under President Bush, one in three of all attacks is reported to have killed a child.
- For the first time the Bureau has compiled accurate details of recorded injuries in drone strikes, revealing that at least 1,114 people have been wounded.
US officials reject the figures.