NPR logo Pakistan Drone Attacks Mapped

Pakistan Drone Attacks Mapped

The Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative of the New America Foundation provides a useful map that illustrates the locations of Pakistan drone attacks over several years.

You may need to be a little patient. It took the map a little while to load all the push pins for me.

View U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan in a larger map

Below is the key to the map provided by its makers:

Click each pin to see the details of a reported strike. The red border represents the extent of Pakistan's tribal regions in the northwest of the country. Red pin=2004-2007; Pink pin=2008; Dark blue pin=2009; (Purple pin=Bush in 2009); Light blue pin=2010

The map accompanies a recent report by Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann which suggests that 32 percent of those killed in drone attacks have been civilians, that is, not the intended targets of the mission planners.

As Bergen and Tiedemann write:

The killing of civilians in drone attacks is an important and politically charged issue in Pakistan. The strikes are quite unpopular among Pakistanis, who view them as violationsof national sovereignty; according to a Gallup poll from August 2009, only 9 percent approved of such attacks. Statistics compiled by Pakistani authorities in early January 2010 indicated that more than 700 civilians were killed by the drones in 2009 alone.

At the other end of the spectrum, an anonymous U.S. government official told the New York Times in early December that "just over 20" civilians and "more than 400" fighters had been killed in less than two years. Other commentators have suggested that the civilian death rate from the drone attacks in Pakistan is 98 percent, while one study claims it is only 10 percent. Trying to ascertain the real civilian death rate from the drone strikes is important both as a moral matter and as a matter of international law, which prohibits indiscriminate attacks against civilians.