President and Mrs Obama with Pakistan’s President Zardari, 2011 (Photo: White House)
The events detailed here occurred in 2011. These have been reported by US or Pakistani government, military and intelligence officials, and by credible media, academic and other sources, including on occasion Bureau researchers. Below is a summary of CIA drone strikes and casualty estimates for 2011. Please note that our data changes according to our current understanding of particular strikes. Below represents our present best estimate.
CIA strike – Obama 2011
|Total CIA drone strikes||75|
|Total reported killed:||363-666|
|Civilians reported killed:||52-152|
|Children reported killed:||6-11|
|Total reported injured:||158-236|
Ob181 – January 1 2011
♦ 8-10 total killed
In the first of four linked strikes in North Waziristan, an early morning attack on a moving car and a house killed up to nine alleged militants, possibly connected to Hafiz Gul Bahadur (LA Times). A February 2012 report published by Associated Press, based on extensive interviews with locals, confirmed that 14 Taliban and no civilians died in this event and Ob182.
Location: Mandi Khel, North Waziristan
References: Geo TV, Express Tribune, Dawn, Dawn, Los Angeles Times, CNN, PakObsever, BBC News, The Nation, ABC Local, Al Jazeera English, Long War Journal, opednews.com, Al Jazeera English, Prison Planet, AP, Bureau
Ob182 – January 1 2011
♦ 4-6 total killed
After waiting two hours with drones still overhead, rescuers reportedly attempted to retrieve the dead and injured from Ob181 but were attacked. Up to six people were killed, all militants according to the Bureau’s researchers in Waziristan. A February 2012 report published by Associated Press, based on extensive interviews with locals, confirmed that 14 Taliban and no civilians died in this event and Ob181. Four of the dead were local men according to a secret internal tally of drone strike casualties compiled by the local political authority and published by the Bureau in January 2014.
Location: Mandi Khel, North Waziristan
References: Geo TV, Express Tribune, Dawn, Dawn, Los Angeles Times, CNN, PakObsever, BBC News, The Nation, ABC Local, Al Jazeera English, Long War Journal, opednews.com, Al Jazeera English, Prison Planet, Jang (Urdu), AP, Bureau
Ob183 – January 1 2011
♦ 4-5 total killed
A car was attacked and up to five alleged militants killed in a strike confused by some outlets with Ob184. An internal Pakistani government record of drone strikes and casualties counted four dead in this strike that hit a car at 1740. ‘Uzbek militants were killed,’ according to the secret document that was published by the Bureau in January 2014.
Ob184 – January 1 2011
♦ 4 total killed
♦ 4 injured
In the fourth related strike of the day another vehicle was struck, killing four alleged militants.
Ob185 – January 7 2011
♦ 1-6 total killed
♦ Civilian deaths possible
A house and at least one vehicle were attacked, killing up to six alleged militants, according to local Pakistani security officials. Although most sources reported that a house and car were hit, Geo TV and others also reported that a missile targeted ‘militants fleeing on a motorbike.’ The Express Tribune identified those killed only as ‘people’, while the Pakistan Observer claimed that all of the dead were ‘ordinary tribesmen’, and also noted that ‘drones kept hovering over the skies for quite some time creating panic and harassment among the residents.’ In January 2014 the Bureau published a secret internal record of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan. The document said one ‘local’ died in the strike and that it targeted a motorcycle at 1320.
Waziristan mountains 2007 – Flickr/Maverick bashoo
Ob186 – January 12 2011
♦ 3-6 total killed
♦ 2-15 injured
The reputed compound of Zafar Khan, allegedly linked to Hafiz Gul Bahadur, was attacked killing up to six alleged militants. According to a secret Pakistani record of CIA drone strikes: ‘The killed persons were Turkman [sic].’ It is not clear if this is referring to people from Turkmenistan or Uighurs from so-called Turkistan, the western Chinese province of Xinjiang The document, published by the Bureau in January 2014, said two people were injured. However initial reports said up to 15 people injured.
Ob187 – January 18 2011
♦ 3-7 total killed
♦ 3 injured
Up to seven alleged militants were killed and three people were injured, in an attack on a house or compound.
In January 2014 the Bureau published a secret Pakistan government record of CIA drone strikes. The document said six people were killed in this attack that hit at 2105. ‘The killed militants were Panjabis from Badar al Mansoor group.’ Badar Mansoor was reportedly killed in February 2012.
Ob188 – January 23 2011
♦ 2-5 total killed
In the first of three linked strikes, a car was destroyed as it parked and a nearby house was badly damaged. At least two alleged militants were killed in the vehicle.
Ob189 – January 23 2011
♦ 2-3 total killed
In the second of three linked strikes a motorcycle was destroyed killing up to three people including possibly a ‘foreigner’.
Ob190 – January 23 2011
♦ 4-6 total killed
♦ 3 injured including one child
Drones chased a vehicle, reportedly destroying it and a house. Up to six alleged militants were killed and three people were injured. The strike hit at 0735, according to a secret Pakistani record of CIA drone strikes published by the Bureau in February 2014. The document said: ‘The killed were Mehsuds and amongst the injured one child was also included.’
Ob191 – February 20 2011
♦ 6-8 total killed
♦ 2 injured
After a delay of some weeks following the arrest of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, drone strikes resumed. Three Turkmenistan nationals and 2 ‘Arabs’ were initially reported to be among up to seven dead in an attack on a house. Al Qaeda finance officer Abu Zaid al-Iraqi aka Ali Khan was later reported to be among the dead:
Mr al Iraqi was believed to be one of several foreigners among the seven dead. He was described as being in his late 30s and going by the local name “Ali Khan.” Mr al Iraqi is believed to have shifted to South Waziristan in 2008 after time spent in Afghanistan.
A secret record of CIA drone strikes, compiled by the local political authority and published by the Bureau in January 2014 listed eight people killed in the strike. It said three missiles were fired on a ‘residential house’ at 2340, killing ’05 Arabs and 03 Punjabis’. An Arab and Punjabi were also reportedly injured.
Location: Azam Warsak, South Waziristan
References: Geo TV, Al Jazeera English, BBC News, CNN, Express Tribune, SATP, Xinhua, The Guardian, Amerpundit (BNO News), freerepublic.com, Fox News, The Nation, The News, Long War Journal, sify.com (IANS), Long War Journal, Associated Press, Bureau
Ob192 – February 21 2011
♦ 7-14 total killed
♦ 0-11 civilians reported killed
♦ 10 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Local tribesmen (The News)
Up to 14 people were killed in a strike near Mir Ali. Some sources described the dead as militants, including 3-6 ‘foreigners’. However The News reported 11 people were killed and that all of them may have been civilians.
The villagers claimed all the victims were local tribes people and had no affiliation with the militants. They said the injured people were rushed to a nearby hospital in Mir Ali town, where the doctors said condition of some of them was critical.’
An internal record of drone strikes, compiled by the local political administration and published by the Bureau in January 2014, listed 14 killed in this attack. ‘Amongst the killed, 06 were locals while 08 were Mehsud militants.’
Ten people were also injured in the strike on a house and car. Earlier in the day locals had reportedly fired on up to a dozen drones operating in the area.
Location: Tabbi, North Waziristan
References: The News, Express Tribune, Amerpundit (BNO News), BBC News, Dawn, sify.com (IANS), SATP, Associated Press, Long War Journal, Bureau (investigation), Bureau (data), Bureau
Ob193 – February 24 2011
♦ 4-7 total killed
♦ At least 2 injured
A car and a nearby house were struck. Two ‘Turkmen militants’ were said to be among up to seven people killed. Although the Bureau published an internal record of drone strikes, compiled by the local political authority, in January 2014. It said the strike hit at 1900 and killed four locals.
Ob194 – March 8 2011
♦ 5 total killed
♦ 0-5 civilians reported killed
♦ 2-3 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Unnamed local sources (Bureau field researchers), local sources and media referring to ‘people’ rather than militants (Xinhua, Daily Times)
Fazal Karim’s reputed house was mostly destroyed, killing up to five people – possibly all civilians, or ‘foreigners’ according to one local official – and wounding three. Rescue work was delayed due to three drones remaining over the village. The attack came hours after a local tribal meeting called for an end to the CIA strikes. Elder Malik Ajmal told a senior Pakistan government official: ‘We would like an immediate end to the drone strikes which have made our children and women psychologically ill.’ The Bureau’s own field researchers later reported:
Five were killed and seven injured when the house of a tribesman Fazal Ikram was hit. Many people said he wasn’t a militant and that those killed were civilians. However, some sources insisted that those killed were militants.
Location: Landidog, South Waziristan
References: Xinhua, CBS (Associated Press), The Daily Times, Dawn (AFP), Amerpundit.com (BNO), Long War Journal, SATP, Dawn, Bureau (investigation), Bureau (data),Bureau
Ob195 – March 8 2011
♦ 5 total killed
♦ 2-3 injured
A poorly-reported strike, in which three missiles hit a house and killed five alleged militants, injuring up to three people.
Ob196 – March 11 2011
♦ 4-12 total killed
♦ 5 civilians reported killed
♦ ‘Many’ injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Unnamed locals (PakObserver, Dawn), field researchers (Bureau)
A double strike on a vehicle (and possibly a house) killed up to 12 people including rescuers. The Pakistan Observer reported at the time:
In [the] first attack a US drone struck a suspected vehicle with at least two hellfire missiles killing three people on board and wounded many others as the vehicle was also destroyed completely. Sources said adding as the rescue operation was in progress and the people retrieving the dead bodies from the targeted vehicle, the American planes struck again after a pause of 10 minutes leaving another three people dead.
Some locals reported that all of the dead were civilians, for example dawn which noted: ‘When local people rushed towards the burning vehicle to remove bodies and help the injured, the unmanned plane fired two missiles’. As part of its investigation into the CIA’s deliberate targeting of rescuers, the Bureau’s own researchers in Waziristan reported that five Taliban and five civilian rescuers were killed in the attack, who they named as Noor Gul, Jaffar, Faraz, Musa and Kamal. An internal record of CIA drone strikes, published by the Bureau in January 2014, reported only four people were killed in this attack – all of them locals.
Location: Khaisoori, North Waziristan
References: PakObserver, Express Tribune, Dawn, Long War Journal, BBC News Pakistan, The News, United News Service, Jang (Urdu), Bureau (rescuers investigation), Bureau (rescuers data), Bureau (civilian deaths investigation), Bureau (civilian data), Bureau
Ob197 – March 11 2011
♦ 4 total killed
A ‘white car’ was destroyed killed four alleged militant victims. They were said to be from South Waziristan. The News reported on the gruesome aftermath:
The four men seated in the white car were killed on the spot and their bodies mutilated beyond recognition. The villagers said bodies of the slain men were scattered all over the place. Rescuers collected pieces of flesh and bones that were stuffed in bags and taken for burial.
An internal record of drone strikes compiled by the local political administration was published by the Bureau in 2014. It said no people were killed in this attack however the entry for this strike said ‘no details available yet’.
Ob198 – March 13 2011
♦ 0-4 total killed
♦ 0-5 injured
A vehicle was damaged Reporting is confused, with some media claiming that up to four alleged militants were killed and five injured – and others that all were able to flee when a missile initially missed the car. In January 2014 the Bureau published an internal Pakistan government record of US drone strikes. It said there were ‘no casualties confirmed’ in this strike. ‘At about 1015 hours, drone fired four missiles at a double cab pickup boarded by 5-6 non-local militants,’ the document said. ‘Vehicle damaged but the boarded militants made their escape good.’
Ob199 – March 13 2011
♦ 4-7 total killed
♦ 5 injured
At least six alleged TTP militants were killed and five were injured in an attack on a house and car. The target was reported to be local TTP leader Rahimullah (his status is unknown). An internal Pakistan government record of CIA drone strikes, published by the Bureau in January 2014, said this strike killed four locals, meaning people from the tribal region.
Ob200 – March 14 2011
♦ 3-6 total killed
A moving truck was attacked and exploded in or near a village, killing up to five people including two ‘Arabs’. The News noted local tribesmen as saying that ‘body parts of the slain men lay scattered all along the road and in nearby fields. Later, when the drones disappeared, the villagers collected the body parts and buried them.’
Ob201 – March 16 2011
♦ 3-5 total killed
An attack on either a housing compound or a car reportedly killed up to five alleged militants. An internal record of drone strikes, published by the Bureau in January 2014, listed three killed in this attack: one from the tribal regions and two described as ‘non-local’ – either foreigners or Pakistanis from outside the tribal region.
Ob202 – March 17 2011
♦ 26-42 total killed
♦ 19-41 civilians reported killed (including 1 child according to one source)
♦ 9-14 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Pakistan’s chief of army staff (official press release, Foreign Policy), Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry (official press release), named commander of local forces (Bureau), provincial governor (Dawn), unnamed locals (BBC News, The News, Wall Street Journal, Xinhua, AP field investigation), named locals (Daily Mail, Reprieve complaint to UN Human Rights Council, Leigh Day & Co, Stanford/NYU Living Under Drones, AP field investigation, Bureau), unnamed Pakistani intelligence officials (New York Times, Al Jazeera, CNN, Geo TV, AFP, AP field investigation), militant sources (Express Tribune), Foundation for Fundamental Rights (petitions to Peshawar High Court), named witness of the immediate aftermath (Huffington Post), secret Pakistani drone strike data (Bureau)
Coming just two days after the release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis from a Lahore jail after he killed two locals, this disastrous US drone strike brought relations between the two nations to a new low. Missiles from a drone struck a gathering of as many as 42 men in Datta Khel. US officials claimed that the men were all legitimate targets, with one stating ‘These people weren’t gathering for a bake sale. They were terrorists.’ Another insisted: ‘These guys were terrorists, not the local men’s glee club.’ However it soon became clear that the CIA had targeted a tribal jirga, a formal gathering to resolve a local dispute. An internal record of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, collected by the local authority, listed up to 41 civilians killed in this attack. The document, published by the Bureau in January 2014, said: ‘The attack was carried out on a Jirga and it is feared that all the killed  were local tribesmen.’
Uniquely Pakistan’s president, prime minister and army chief all publicly condemned this attack. News later emerged that the US Ambassador to Islamabad had personally tried to halt the strike, only to be over-ruled by the CIA’s chief. A US official reportedly claimed that the attack was ‘in retaliation’ for the imprisonment of Davis. Although up to 11 Taliban were said by some to be among the dead, up to 38 civilians were also reported killed, including tribal elders and local policemen. The Bureau’s own researchers in Waziristan told us: ‘Several members of the government-managed and armed Khassadar force were present at the jirga because the government had got involved in resolving a dispute between two contractors who mined chromite in the nearby hills.‘
Held in the Nomada bus depot, the meeting was attended by maliks – tribal leaders – along with government officials and local policemen, eyewitnesses told Stanford/NYU researchers. The attendees were seated in ‘two large circles about 12 feet apart’ and were discussing the disagreement when a first missile ‘fired from a US drone hovering above’ struck one of the circles at around 10.45am. Ahmed Jan told the researchers ‘he remembered hearing the hissing sound the missiles made just seconds before they slammed into the centre of his group’. ‘Several’ further missiles rained down on the jirga, with at least one hitting the second group, the Stanford/NYU researchers found. Jalal Manzar Khail told Reprieve he heard two missiles hit the ground and saw two more shortly afterwards. He arrived at the scene soon after the strike – the injured were rushed to hospital and he had to ‘[put] body parts in different boxes… [Using] boxes as coffins’. In June 2013 he told the independent filmmakers four of his cousins were killed in the strike: Muzammal Khan, Sher Hayat Khan, Nek Bahadur Khan and Belal Khan. He also told the filmmakers from Brave New Films four others civilians were killed in this strike: Nendar Khan, Hakim Khan, Mushk Alam and Daraz Khan.
The leader of the jirga, Malik Daud Khan, aged 45 was among those killed. Sharabat Khan also reportedly died, identified variously as a local militant or as the leaseholder of the mine. In July 2011 the Bureau’s field researchers additionally identified the following as slain civilians: Gul Akbar; Mohammad Sheen; Lewanai; Mir Zaman; Din Mohammad; Malik Tareen; Noor Ali; Zare Jan; Sadiq; Mustaqeem; Khangai; Gulnaware; Faenda Khan; and Dindar Khan, Umark Khan, Wali Khan, Sadar and Bakhtar, all five from the Khassadar police force.
In sworn affidavits from multiple witnesses to the strike, filed in the London High Court in March 2012, five further civilians were identified by name: Ismail Khan, father of Imran Khan; khassadar Hajji Babat, father of Khalil Khan; Khnay Khan, father of Mir Daad Khan; and Gul Mohammed and his son Ismael.
‘We were told in plain words that none of the elders that had attended survived. They were all destroyed, all gone,’ Khalil Khan told Stanford/NYU researchers, adding that all he could do to bury his father was ‘collect pieces of flesh and put them in a coffin’. ‘Nearly all those killed were the heads of large households’, the Stanford/NYU researchers note, adding that this sudden loss caused many of their bereaved family members severe financial difficulties. The Pakistani government offered families three lakhs (approximately $3,200) in compensation, witnesses told interviewers, but most said they had refused it. ‘[O]ur elders were worth much more than that… [W]e had lost an entire community of elders,’ they told researchers.
The CIA continues to claim that no civilians died in the attack. A US official commenting on the Bureau’s findings, stated: ‘There’s no question the Pakistani and U.S. governments have different views on the outcome of this strike. The fact is that a large group of heavily armed men, some of whom were clearly connected to Al Qaeda and all of whom acted in a manner consistent with A.Q.-linked militants, were killed.’
Confusion remains about how many people died that day. At the time, Taliban sources told the Express Tribune that 12 of its members had died out of 26 killed in total. In February 2012 Associated Press published a report of the incident based on extensive field research, stating that only four attendees appeared to have been Taliban. It also listed a fresh US counter-claim:
Citing the number visible in the monitoring before and during the attack, US officials said the total of dead was roughly half what villagers reported. But [local farmer Gul] Ahmed said there were 42 caskets lined up at the funeral, and he provided the victims’ names.
In the same month, a joint investigation by the Bureau and the Sunday Times cited Pakistan’s military commander in Waziristan at the time, Brigadier Abdullah Dogar: ‘We in the Pakistan military knew about the meeting, we’d got the request 10 days earlier. It was held in broad daylight, people were sitting out in Nomada bus depot when the missile strikes came. Maybe there were one or two Taliban at that Jirga – they have their people attending – but does that justify a drone strike which kills 42 mostly innocent people?’
Location: Datta Khel, North Waziristan
References: Pakistan Ministry of Defence, Dawn, Pakistan Foreign Ministry, Dawn, BBC News, Daily Mail, New York Times, Al Jazeera English, CNN, The News, Express Tribune, Geo TV, Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy, Wall Street Journal, AFP, Xinhua, AFP, CNN, BBC News, Long War Journal, AP, The Economist, New York Times, Reprieve, The Bureau, Leigh, Day & Co, Nieman Watchdog, The Bureau, Stanford/NYU Living Under Drones, Toronto Star, Huffington Post, Bureau
2011.03.17 Datta Khel jirga Ob203-4 / Noor Behram
Ob203 – April 13 2011
♦ 4-7 total killed
♦ 0-7 civilians reported killed
♦ 6-10 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Named official indicates possible civilian casualties (Pajhwok), unnamed ‘official sources’ describe the dead as ‘people’, rather than ‘militants’ (Xinhua)
Up to seven alleged militants were killed and six or more people were injured following an attack on a double-cabin truck and and a motorbike which were reportedly crossing from Afghanistan. A house was also damaged, according to Pajhwok, with political administration official Khiyal Gul telling the Afghan agency that he was unable to ascertain whether militants or civilians were killed in the raid, and another named villager, Salim, telling the same agency that those killed were militants. An anonymous US official told the New York Times that the target was forces linked to Maulvi Nazir, a Taliban commander fighting Nato forces across the border.
These operations are consistent with the US-Pakistan agreements that have been in place for some time. This was about protecting Americans in the region. This is not about sending a signal to Pakistan.’
A spokesman with Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry later condemned the strike, coming as it did days after the head of Pakistan’s intelligence service had complained to Washington about the drone strikes: ‘Drone attacks have become a core irritant in the counter-terror campaign. Pakistan has taken up the matter with the US at all levels,’ a ministry statement read. CNN also reported a senior Pakistani intelligence official as saying:
It’s unilateral action. What is this? A message [from the Americans] that it’s business as usual, irrespective of what we ask of you? If it is, it’s a crude way of getting your message across.’
Location: Baghar Cheena, South Waziristan
References: Reuters, Associated Press, New York Times, AFP, CNN, Pajhwok, Xinhua, Long War Journal, Pakistan Foreign Ministry, CNN, Bureau (civilian investigation), Bureau (civilian data), Bureau
2011.03.17 Datta Khel Jirga Member Malik