The Year of the Drones – An Analysis of U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2011

View all U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan in a larger map. Note:strikes reported after November 19, 2010 appear on page 2 of theGoogle map.

 Created by(chaudry) Created on (26-5-2011)

An Analysis of U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2011

2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2004-2007

This research was last updated on May 24, 2011. For a full analysis of the repercussions and results of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, please click here for “The Year of the Drone,” by Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann, February 24, 2010 or click here for “The Hidden War,” December 21, 2010.

2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2004-2007

The research on these pages, which we have created in a good faith effort to be as transparent as possible with our sources and analysis and will be updated regularly, draws only on accounts from reliable media organizations with deep reporting capabilities in Pakistan, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal, accounts by major news services and networks—the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, CNN, and the BBC—and reports in the leading English-language newspapers in Pakistan—the Daily Times, Dawn, the Express Tribune, and the News—as well as those from Geo TV, the largest independent Pakistani television network.

Our study shows that the 244 reported drone strikes in northwest Pakistan, including 31 in 2011, from 2004 to the present have killed approximately between 1,483 and 2,364 individuals, of whom around 1,190 to 1,893 were described as militants in reliable press accounts. Thus, the true non-militant fatality rate since 2004 according to our analysis is approximately 20 percent. In 2010, it was more like five percent.*

We have also constructed a map, based on the same reliable press accounts and publicly available maps, of the estimated location of each drone strike. Click each pin in the online version to see the details of a reported strike. And while we are not professional cartographers, and Google Maps is at times incomplete or imperfect, this map gives our best approximations of the locations and details of each reported drone strike since 2004.

This study carries a Creative Commons license, which permits re-use of New America content when proper attribution is provided. Please click here for conditions of use, and when citing please attribute to Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann’s drones database at the New America Foundation.

Estimated Total Deaths from U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004 – 2011

 Deaths (low)  Deaths (high)

2011* 154 235
2010 607 993
2009 369 725
2008 273 313
2004-2007 89 112
Total 1492 2,378

*Through May 24, 2011

Estimated Militant Deaths from U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan 2004 – 2011

 Deaths (low)  Deaths (high)
2011* 138 199
2010 581 939
2009 266 502
2008 133 164
2004-2007 81 103
Total 1,199 1,907

*Through May 24, 2011

Estimated Militant Leader Deaths from US Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2011

2011 1
2010 12
2009 7
2008 10
2004-2007 3
Total 33

*Through May 24, 2011. Included in estimated militants and estimated totals, above.

Militant leaders killed

2011

  • February 20, 2011: Abu Zaid al-Iraqi, managed al-Qaeda’s finances in Pakistan (AP)

2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2004-2007

Strikes by Target

Target 2004-2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Total
Taliban 6 11 27 42 9 95
Baitullah Mehsud (not Taliban generally) 0 1 16 n/a n/a 17
Al Qaeda 5 10 9**  8 2 34
Haqqani 1 2 4 16 1 24
Unclear/Other 0 13 4 68 21 106

*Count is more than the number of strikes in some cases because some targets fell into multiple categories.

In cases where a media report described a specific target such as Baitullah Mehsud or the Haqqani network, the target is counted as such. If a target was both al Qaeda and Taliban commanders, it is counted once under each category. Strikes against Baitullah Mehsud are not included in the overall Taliban count. We assume that strikes which kill a leader in a given group were targeted at that group.

2011

31. May 23, 201
Location: Machikhel, Mir Ali, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 4-7
Others killed: Unknown
Source: APAFPCNNBBCReutersAFP/ETThe News
Assumed target: Vehicle carrying militants (UNCLEAR)

30. May 20, 2011
Location: Tappi area, 10km east of Miram Shah, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 4-6
Others killed: Unknown
Source: ReutersAPCNNETAFP
Assumed target: Vehicle (UNCLEAR)

29. May 16, 2011
Location: Mir Ali, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 3-6
Others killed: Unknown
Source: CNNAPAFPDawnReuters
Assumed target: Vehicle (UNCLEAR)

28. May 16, 2011
Location: Mir Ali, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 4-6
Others killed: Unknown
Source: CNNAPAFPDawnReuters
Assumed target: Compound (UNCLEAR)

27. May 13, 2011
Location: Doga Madakhel, 40km west of Miram Shah, in Datta Khel, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 3-5
Others killed: Unknown
Source: APAFPCNNReutersAJE
Assumed target: Vehicle (UNCLEAR)

26. May 12, 2011
Location: Datta Khel, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 3-8
Others killed: Unknown
Source: APThe NewsReutersAFPCNNBBC
Assumed target: Pick-up van (UNCLEAR)

25. May 10, 2011
Location: Baghar area, near Angoor Adda, South Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 3-5 (Arabs)
Others killed: Unknown
Source: ETAPAFPCNN
Assumed target: Vehicle used by militants (UNCLEAR)

24. May 6, 2011
Location: Datta Khel, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 8-14
Others killed: 0-1
Source: AFPAPET/ReutersAPGeoPostCNNThe NewsReuters
Assumed target: Compound used by militants (QAEDA)

MAY 2, 2011: OSAMA BIN LADEN KILLED

23. April 22, 2011
Location: Spinwam, Mir Ali, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 17-20
Others killed: 3-9
Source: ReutersAPWSJCNNBBCGeoNYT
Assumed target: Compound used by Hafiz Gul Bahadur (TALIBAN)

22. April 13, 2011
Location: Angoor Adda, Bhangar area, South Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 4-7
Others killed: Unknown
Source: APAFPReutersCNNBBCNYTPajhwok
Assumed target: Vehicle and motorcycle used by militants (TALIBAN/HAQQANI)

21. March 17, 2011
Location: Datta Khel, 15 miles west of Miram Shah, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 11-12
Others killed: 13-24
Source: AJEAPCNNBBCReutersThe NewsGeoETReutersFPAPFPAP
Assumed target: Meeting of fighters planning attacks in Afghanistan; affiliated with Hafiz Gul Bahadur (TALIBAN) OR a meeting of local elders discussing a land dispute (UNCLEAR).
Note: U.S. officials claim all those killed were militants, while Pakistani officials claim all were civilians. Up to 45 total were reported killed by different sources.

20. March 16, 2011
Location: Datta Khel town, 15 miles west of Miram Shah, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 4-6
Others killed: Unknown
Source: CNNAFPDawnBBCAP
Assumed target: Compound used by militants (UNCLEAR)

19. March 14, 2011
Location: Malik Jashdar, 6 miles east of Miram Shah, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 4-6
Others killed: Unknown
Source: CNNBBCETAP
Assumed target: Vehicle used by militants (UNCLEAR)

18. March 13, 2011
Location: Spalga village, 15km NE of Miram Shah, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 1
Others killed: Unknown
Source: APAFPAFPWSJ
Assumed target: Compound used by TTP commander Rahimullah (TALIBAN)

17. March 13, 2011
Location: Spalga village, 15km NE of Miram Shah, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 6
Others killed: Unknown
Source: APAFPAFPWSJ
Assumed target: Compound used by TTP commander Rahimullah (TALIBAN)

16. March 13, 2011
Location: Azam Warsak, 12 miles west of Wana, South Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 0-4
Others killed: Unknown
Source: APAFPAFPET
Assumed target: Vehicle used by militants (UNCLEAR)

15. March 11, 2011
Location: Spinwam village, Khaisor, 30 miles north of Miram Shah, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 2-3
Others killed: 0-2
Source: DawnAPAFPDawn
Assumed target: Militants collecting bodies from the earlier drone strike (UNCLEAR)

14. March 11, 2011
Location: Spinwam village, Khaisor, 30 miles north of Miram Shah, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 3-4
Others killed: Unknown
Source: DawnAPAFPDawn
Assumed target: Vehicle carrying militants (UNCLEAR)

13. March 8, 2011
Location: Landidog, 12 miles west of Wana, South Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 5
Others killed: Unknown
Source: APAFP/AFPBBCDaily Times
Assumed target: Militant compound (UNCLEAR)

12. February 24, 2011
Location: Mohammed Khel, in Danday Darpa Khel, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 3-6
Others killed: Unknown
Source: APBBCCNNAFPET/Reuters
Assumed target: Car carrying Turkmen militants and house used by Taliban fighters (TALIBAN)

11. February 21, 2011
Location: Spalga village, 12 miles south of Miram Shah, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 5-8
Others killed: Unknown
Source: AFPAPBBCThe NewsGeo/AFP
Assumed target: Militant compound (UNCLEAR)

10. February 20, 2011
Location: Kaza Panga village, 10 miles west of Wana, South Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: 1 (Abu Zaid al-Iraqi, managed al-Qaeda’s finances in Pakistan)
Militants killed: 4-7
Others killed: Unknown
Source: AFPGeo/AFPAJEBBCCNNAPReuters
Assumed target: House used by militants (QAEDA)

9. January 23, 2011
Location: Mando Khel, 60km south of Miram Shah near Razmak, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 6
Others killed: Unknown
Source: CNNAFPGeoAPAFPAJE
Assumed target: Suspected militant compound (UNCLEAR)

8. January 23, 2011
Location: Doga Mada Khel, near Datta Khel, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 2-3
Others killed: Unknown
Source: CNNAFPGeoAPAFPAJE
Assumed target: Motorcycle in the same town as #7 (UNCLEAR)

7. January 23, 2011
Location: Doga Mada Khel, near Datta Khel, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 3-4
Others killed: Unknown
Source: CNNAFPGeoAPAFPAJE
Assumed target: House and vehicle (UNCLEAR)

6. January 18, 2011
Location: Asar village, 25 miles west of Miram Shah, Datta Khel, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 4-5
Others killed: Unknown
Source: The News/AFPAFPPTIAP
Assumed target: Militant compound (UNCLEAR)

5. January 12, 2011
Location: Haiderkhel village, 15 miles east of Miram Shah, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 3-5
Others killed: Unknown
Source: BBCAFPCNNPajhwokGeo/AFPWSJ
Assumed target: Militant compound linked to Hafiz Gul Bahadur (TALIBAN)

4. January 7, 2011
Location: Ghar Laley, 22 miles west of Miram Shah, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 4-6
Others killed: Unknown
Source: APAFPGeo/AFPETBBCCNN
Assumed target: House and vehicle (UNCLEAR)

3. January 1, 2011
Location: Boya village, in Datta Khel, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 4
Others killed: Unknown
Source: GeoAPReutersAFP/ETBBCCNNLATAFP
Assumed target: Vehicle used by militants (UNCLEAR)

2. January 1, 2011
Location: Ghoresti, near Mir Ali, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 4-5
Others killed: Unclear
Source: GeoAPReutersAFP/ETBBCCNNLATAFP
Assumed target: Retrieving bodies (TALIBAN)

1. January 1, 2011
Location: Mandi Khel, near Mir Ali, North Waziristan
Militant leaders killed: Unknown
Militants killed: 7-9
Others killed: Unclear
Source: GeoAPReutersAFP/ETBBCCNNLATAFP
Assumed target: Vehicle and militant compound affiliated with Hafiz Gul Bahadur (TALIBAN)

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