Get the data: Pakistani military air strikes


This dataset tracks reported casualties in Pakistani military air strikes and other attacks on Pakistan’s tribal northwest between December 19 2013 and June 15 2014. The data has been assembled using the same methodology the Bureau uses to track reports of drone strikes.

On June 15, the Pakistani army announced a full-scale military operation into the tribal regions. We selected this as a cut-off point.

Read the full methodology here.

Related story – Pakistani military strikes kill hundreds, including civilians

December 19-23 2013
40-70 total killed.
4-70 civilians reported killed. 

At least 40 people were killed, reportedly including many civilians, in military air strikes that targeted the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan over several days. The attacks took place in retaliation to a militant suicide bomb attack on a checkpoint in North Waziristan.

Muhammed Tayyab, a resident, told the Express Tribune that he lost three of his children and his wife in the shelling. ‘On the first day of the attack an artillery shell hit the room where my kids and wife were sleeping,’ he said. ‘The government has put them to sleep forever. Where is safe?’

Residents put the civilian death toll at several dozen. ‘From the first day of the attack until now 70 civilians have been killed.’ said a tribal elder in Mir Ali who declined to be identified for fear of state reprisals.

‘Some truck drivers and hotel and shop keepers were shot directly, and dozens were killed by gunships, mortars, and artillery shelling on the civilian population.’

Around 300 people, mostly students from Gomal University and North Waziristan, reportedly protested in the northwestern city of Peshawar on December 20 against the military operation.

‘We are already victims of the drone war and equally sick of these insurgents, but the Pakistani military is also not protecting us. They are as much our enemy as the insurgents. This attack has proven that innocent locals like us, are disposable. We have done nothing to deserve this,’ Abdul Khalid, a local from Dera Ismail Khan told The Diplomat.

The army in its statement did not comment on residents’ accusations of civilian casualties and argued that the strikes were intelligence-led and specifically targeted foreign terrorists.

Location: Mir Ali, North Waziristan
References: Express Tribune, The Diplomat, Dawn, Reuters 

January 21 2014
♦ 15-40 total killed
♦ 3-15 civilians reported killed
♦ 0-15 injured

At least 15 people were reportedly killed in helicopter and jet strikes in Mir Ali and Miranshah, in strikes following a wave of attacks against security forces.

The army stated that 40 ‘terrorists’ had been killed and said they had all been involved in recent militant attacks – although there is no independent confirmation of this. According to local newspaper Dawn, the death toll reportedly included 33 Uzbeks and three Germans. Four of the dead were identified as Wali Mohammed, Asmat Shaheen, Maulvi Farhad Uzbek and Shaheen Betini, described in media reports as important commanders.

Tribal elders and the Taliban put the death toll lower and some reports said there were ‘numerous’ civilian casualties.

Reuters described scenes of panic among local villagers as fighter jets and helicopter gunships pounded the Mir Ali district.

A tribesman in Haiderkhel village, Musafar Khan, told Reuters that several houses had been bombed. ‘We spent the night in the open with children, and others went to nearby villages because of the bombing in our village.’ Another man, Nassemullah, said 15 civilians were killed when a bomb hit a mosque. ‘Those who were killed in the mosque were local villagers,’ he said. ‘We will seek revenge for this.’

Location: Mir Ali/Miranshah, Northern Waziristan
ReferencesBBC, Dawn, Pahjwok Daily News, The News, The Express Tribune, Reuters

February 19 2014

Total from all strikes:
♦ 22-42 total killed
♦ 0-9 total injured

♦ Mir Ali/Dattakhel strike: 15-30 killed
♦ Shawal strike: 0-5 killed
♦ Bara strike: 7 killed
♦ Shawal strike: 0-3 reported injured
♦ Bara strike: 0-6 reported injured

A series of jet and helicopter strikes attacked targets across North Waziristan. Among those killed in the strikes were at least 16 Uzbek nationals, according to local media reports.

A local told Express Tribune that following the air strikes, tribesmen had started to ‘evacuate’ the tribal regions.

A further seven people, all reportedly Pakistani, were also killed in Khyber Agency’s Bara region when army gunships targeted a building that military officials claimed was an explosives store that also and housed suicide bombers. Dawn reported that among those killed was a key militant commander, Hazrat Ali, and three would-be suicide bombers.

Military sources said those killed in the latest attacks were involved in the recent attack at a cinema in Peshawar and the killing of an army officer in the city. The strikes also took place days after the killing of 23 soldiers captured by the TTP.

Location: Mir Ali, Dhattakel, Shawal, Bara
Sources: Express Tribune, Express Tribune, Dawn, DawnAFP, Siaset, The News, The News,

February 22 2014
♦ 0-9 total killed

Helicopter gunships targeted alleged buildings described by Associated Press as ‘militant hideouts’ in the Thall sub-district of Hangu, killing at least nine people and destroying several buildings. Sources added that the helicopters continued flying over the area after the shelling. This was the first air strike to take place beyond the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, in mainstream Pakistan. Reports were all based on comments by anonymous local security officials.

Location: Hangu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Sources: Associated Press, Dawn, Express Tribune, AFP

February 23 2014

Fighter jet strikes in the Tirah Valley killed at least 18, reportedly targeting militant sites including landmine-making facilities and stockpiles of explosives. Anonymous security officials told Express Tribune that the dead included key commanders.

Location: Tirah Valley
Sources: Express Tribune, Hindu Times, Reuters, Dawn, The News 

February 25 2014
♦ 27-30 total killed

Military strikes targeted Shawal valley, on the border of North and South Waziristan, and Dattakhel, in North Waziristan. At least 15 alleged militants reportedly died in the attack on Shawal, an area described by an army spokesman to Pakistani media as being used for training suicide bombers. An anonymous senior military official told Pakistani paper The News that a senior TTP militant commander was among the dead.

The official added: ‘Fifteen militants were killed in the South Waziristan side of the boundary while 12 more were killed in North Waziristan.’ But other reports put the death toll at ‘at least 30’.

A tribesman, Naqibullah Khan told Reuters he feared the military would soon launch a full-scale offensive. Another tribesman, Gul Jabbar, 48, also spoke to Reuters. He had left his shop and home behind after his village was hit by fighter jets the week before. He said: ‘The government is doing nothing to help the people leaving their villages or helping them find accommodation in Bannu.’ Many locals have fled the area in the wake of the attacks. An unnamed security official told The News that 6,000 people arrived in Bannu alone after the military strikes.

Location: Shawal, Dhattakhel
Sources: Dawn, Express Tribune, The News, Reuters, BBC, Washington Post 

February 27 2014
♦ 0-3 total killed

A single source reported a helicopter gunship strike in DI Khan, beyond the FATA tribal regions, reportedly killed three alleged militants. However a tribal elder told local media the strikes killed two cows, but no people.

Location: Kulachi, KPK Province
Sources: Express Tribune 

April 24 2014
♦ 15-37 total killed
♦ 1-3 civilians reported killed
♦ 14-18 reported injured

A series of air strikes reportedly destroyed nine alleged militant compounds near the towns of Bara and Jamrud in Khyber Agency, killing at least 15.

Military officials said the strikes were in response to recent attacks against police and civilians in Islamabad and Peshawar; an official said the attacks followed reports that those responsible for the attacks were in the area. Locals told Express Tribune two children and a woman were among those killed in the air strikes. A spokesman for the Taliban also claimed those killed in the bombing were civilians.

Troops also carried out a ground-based military search operation, arresting 15 people in the Mirikhel and Sultankhel areas of Bara, a town in Khyber Agency. But locals told reporters that most of those who lived in Mirikhel were families displaced by violence elsewhere.

Location: Bara/Jamrud, Khyber Agency
Sources: Express Tribune, CNN, Fiji One, Reuters, The News

May 2122
♦ 30-80 total killed
♦ 4-19 civilians reported killed
♦ 30-50 reported injured

A major two-day military offensive comprising air strikes and mortar attacks hit towns across in the North Waziristan, killing at least 30, reportedly including women and children. Mir Ali, Miranshah, Dattakhel and Ghulam Khan were all targeted. Dawn reported parts of the Mir Ali bazaar were on fire after a mortar attack.

A tribesman said: ‘It was around 3am in the morning when I heard huge explosions. I saw four helicopters flying over the area and hitting some villages.’

Military sources told Dawn that the targets of the air strikes were strongholds of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (Etim) — a militant group comprising Uzbeks and Uighurs from China’s north-western autonomous region of Xinjiang. There were unconfirmed reports that two TTP militant leaders, Musa Khan Mehsud and Sabir Mehsud, were also killed.

A Miranshah resident interviewed by Dawn said the dead included women and children.

Security officials said the strikes were reprisals for the killing of nine people at a Peshawar registration camp. ‘Before the launch of the air strikes, we had confirmed intelligence information about hideouts of the militants and their top commanders,’ a senior military official in Miranshah told Reuters.

Reports claimed Pakistani-origin drones were spotted flying at low altitude over Miranshah and Mir Ali, purportedly the first time that Pakistani drones have been used in the tribal area.

The series of air strikes on May 21 was followed by further operations on May 22, as troops used tanks and helicopter gunships to destroy Matchis Camp, an area near Miranshah described as a ‘hub’ for militants by Siraj Ahmed, a senior government official, speaking to Reuters. An unnamed intelligence official told AFP more than 100 houses were destroyed, adding that ‘about 300 shops in the main Mir Ali bazaar’ were also targeted by helicopter shelling. However reports did not specify whether people were killed in the operations.

Location: Mir Ali/Dhattakhel/Miranshah/Ghulam Khan, North Waziristan
Sources: Dawn, Express Tribune, BBC, Hindu Times, AFP, New York Times, Kuna, The News, The News, Reuters, Al Jazeera, AFP, Reuters

May 31 2014
♦ 4-16 total reported killed
♦ 4-5 civilians reported killed
♦ 10 reported injured

Ground-based troops backed by helicopter gunships pursued alleged militants on the Afghan border, reportedly killing at least four and wounding many more. AFP reported that the air strike was called in after dozens of alleged militants attacked a Pakistani border post and reportedly killed at least 14 alleged militants.

An Afghan police chief claimed the helicopters pursued the suspects over the border and killed civilians in Dangam district. Gen. Abdul Habib Sayedkhaili, the police chief of Kunar province, Afghanistan, said two Pakistani helicopters crossed into his country and opened fire in the Dangam district. The attack killed four Afghan civilians and wounded 10, Sayedkhaili said. He added that Pakistani forces continued firing shells over the border for the rest of the day. The Pakistani Foreign Ministry issued a statement denying its strikes killed civilians, and said they were only ‘attacking terrorists’.

Pakistani military officers told AP they blamed the local Pakistani Taliban for the attack.

Location: Dangam
Sources: Dawn, AP, Reuters, BBC, Radio Free Europe, AFP


June 10 2014
♦ 15-25 total reported killed

Military air strikes in the Tirah Valley killed at least 15 alleged militants people in retaliatory attacks hours after the TTP stormed Karachi airport killing at least 30 people.

The raids by Pakistani F-16 jets also destroyed nine militant positions in the Tirah Valley in Khyber district, the military said. The Khyber tribal region, near the Pakistan-Afghan border, is believed to be a base for several militant groups and foreign fighters.

Location: Tirah Valley
Sources: BBC, Dawn, Dawn, Express Tribune

June 15 2014
♦ 105-150 total reported killed

A series of air strikes on North Waziristan in the early hours of the morning killed scores of alleged militants, hours before the official announcement of a full-scale military operation in North Waziristan.

Initial reports suggested that around 50 had been killed, but figure later rose.

‘Today at about 0130 hours (2030 GMT), a number of terrorist hideouts in Dehgan, Datta Khel in North Waziristan were targeted by jet aircraft. The number of terrorists killed in early morning strikes has risen to 80, mostly Uzbeks,’ the military said in a statement cited by AFP, although the agency noted that local officials put the toll closer to 150. A later military statement cited by Geo TV said at least 105 had been killed.

An unnamed official told AFP the dead included Abu Abdul Rehman Almani, who was described by other reports as an Uzbek militant leader believed to be the ‘mastermind’ of the attack on Karachi airport. Geo TV described him as a commander of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and added that another commander named Wilayet bin Hashim was also killed. The military imposed a curfew on North Waziristan and closed all entry and exit roads, further limiting the already extremely constricted access to the region.

Location: Deegan, North Waziristan
Sources: AFP, DawnFinancial Times, New York Times, BBC, The News, Guardian, Dunya News, Pakistan Tribune, Geo TV, Dawn