As part of its ongoing investigation into the US covert war the Bureau has examined thousands of credible media reports relating to more than 310 Central Intelligence Agency drone strikes in Pakistan.
These incidents were reported by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, CNN, ABC News, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, the BBC, Al Jazeera, and reputable Pakistani media (see bottom table).
CIA drone strikes tend to be reported on a case-by-case basis. Yet it became clear to the Bureau that a number of specific tactics were being deployed. These included multiple attacks by drones on rescuers attempting to aid victims of previous strikes. There were also a number of credible reports of funerals and mourners being attacked by CIA drones.
With the aid of Pakistani journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai in Peshawar, the Bureau has spent four months working with independent researchers in Waziristan seeking to validate the reports. Villagers, militants and local officials have been questioned, and attempts made to identify those killed in the strikes.
In six of the original cases the Bureau cannot confirm that rescuers and funeral-goers have been killed. So while, for example, all of those killed on June 20 this year were reported to be civilians, no evidence was found in the field that rescuers were involved. On other occasions, according to our researchers, only militants died and no rescuers were involved.
The Bureau’s researchers also identified one attack on rescuers, which had not been reported. They were told it took place on July 7, 2011 – which would make it the last known CIA attack on rescuers.
According to villagers in Waziristan, rescuers were also attacked on nine further occasions beginning on March 15 2008. The Bureau is continuing to work with its researchers to obtain further information and validation relating to these additional drone strikes, which are not included in the present data.
Original claims of attacks on rescuers and funeral-goers as reported by leading media.
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