BIJ : Drone Strikes in Pakistan

Composited Report


A variety of vehicles have reportedly been destroyed in CIA drone strikes in Pakistan. Reports mostly describe the vehicles in generic terms like ‘vehicle’ and ‘car’. Toyota pickup-trucks and other four-wheel drive vehicles, as well as motorbikes and a horse, have also been reportedly destroyed.

Vehicles were destroyed on the open road, while through village streets, or parked beside or inside houses. On average, 3.8 people died and 0.3 civilians were reported killed for each vehicle hit by the drones.

Domestic Buildings

Almost two thirds (63%) of all strikes targeted domestic buildings, according to a joint analysis by the Bureau, Forensic Architecture, a research unit based at Goldsmiths University, London, and Situ Research in New York.

Domestic buildings in the FATA are large and sprawling, often described as ‘compounds’ in media reports. However they are domestic spaces. Militants often rent or may simply commandeer them, though the families do sometimes continue living there. On average, 6.2 people and 0.9 reported civilians died per strike on domestic buildings.

Mosques and Madrassas

At least eight strikes have hit mosques or madrassas - religious schools. These targets make up a small proportion of the total attacks, but they are particularly deadly. On average, at least 17 people and 12.4 civilians are reported killed for each religious building hit in the strikes.

This huge casualty rate is in part due to an attack on a madrassa in on October 30 2006. It killed 81 civilians and at least 69 children - the highest casualty toll of the entire campaign. However even if you removed this strike from the the equation, religious buildings have higher casualty rates than domestic buildings or vehicles: they kill eight people and 2.7 civilians per building hit, and 2.7 civilians.

Target Unclear

Reporting is sometimes vague or contradictory in indicating what target was hit in a strike. In these cases, we have recorded the target as ‘unclear’.

Image from Hasbanullah Khan/Associated Press

Case Study: Hangu


    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

    Composited Report