A project tracking drone
deaths in Pakistan

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Haji Babat




Probably Kazha Madakhel, a sub-clan of the Ahmadzai Wazir





Place of origin

Datta Khel area

Reported status

Reported civilian

Civilian occupation

Policeman (khassadar)

Case study

Government worker Haji Babat was among dozens who died in a drone attack that targeted a tribal meeting in March 2011. Many of the dead were tribal elders.

Babat’s son Khalil Khan later submitted a sworn statement to the British High Court, containing details about his father. He was described as ‘the type of person that others looked up to and aspired to be like’.

Haji Babat had worked for the government ‘for about seven to eight years prior to his murder’, Khan said. He worked as a Khassadar – a tribal policeman.

He added: ‘If there were ever any issues that needed to be resolved in my family or in my community, people would turn to my father and Malik Daud Khan [who died in the same strike]. My father was always willing to lend a helping hand – he was always there to assist me and my fellow villagers.’

On March 17 2011, Haji Babat joined around 40 others – including a handful of alleged militants but also many locals, tribal elders and Khassadars – in a tribal jirga [meeting] to resolve a dispute over chromite mining. Locals later told researchers for Stanford Law School and New York University’s Living Under Drones report that they were seated in ‘two large circles about 12 feet apart’ when drones attacked.

When he heard about the strike, Khalil Khan immediately went to the Nomada bus depot to try to find his father. Arriving at the scene of the strike, he found injured victims and the depot in flames. Unable to identify the body parts lying on the ground, all Khalil Khan could do was ‘collect pieces of flesh and put them in a coffin’, he said.

Haji Babat left behind a household of eight. As a Khassadar he earned enough to support his family – 5,000 Pakistan rupees a month. Now his son Khalil struggles to support them. The Pakistani government offered three lakhs (roughly $3,200) to the families of the dead in compensation, but most families refused, according to Living Under Drones.

Video: Brave New Foundation

Sources and Citations

Sworn affidavit submitted to High Court in March 2012 (Bureau); Living Under Drones (Stanford/NYU)


Died 17/03/2011

Details of the strike

About the project

CIA drone strikes have killed over 2,500 people in Pakistan; many are described as militants, but some are civilians. This is a record of those who have died in these attacks.

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Covert drone war

A project by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism tracking drone strikes and other covert US actions in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

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The Bureau is a not-for-profit research organisation based in London. It pursues in-depth journalism that is of public benefit.

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