BIJ : Drone Strikes in Pakistan

Target Types

The CIA has been bombing Pakistan’s tribal agencies with drones since June 2004. In the early years, strikes were rare. But from mid-2008 onward the frequency of strikes increased, peaking in 2010. That year, 128 strikes killed at least 751 people - of whom 84 were civilians. There were 23 strikes in September 2010 alone - the most intense month yet recorded by the Bureau.

This map demonstrates how the frequency of strikes - and the overall reported casualties - has changed over time. It also shows how the targets of the strikes have changed.

Domestic buildings have been the most frequently hit target type in each year of the drone war. Attacks on vehicles have become gradually more frequent, and in 2011 almost as many vehicles were hit per strike, on average, as buildings. But this dropped from a peak that year and in 2013 drones targeted vehicles just three times.

Attacks on vehicles tend to kill fewer people than attacks on domestic buildings, and fewer civilians. The highest death tolls of all are in the comparatively rare attacks on madrassas and mosques.


    Bureau of Investigative Journalism Team:
    Alice K Ross; Jack Serle

    Forensic Architecture Team:
    Eyal Weizman (Principal Investigator); Susan Schuppli (Senior Research Fellow, Project Coordinator); Jacob Burns (Research Assistant);

    SITU Research Team:
    Jeremy Chance; Akshay Mehra; Bradley Samuels and Xiaowei Wang

    Target Types