President Obama meets with his Cabinet, 2009 (Photo: White House/ Pete Souza)
The events detailed here occurred in the first year of the Obama presidency. These have been reported by US or Pakistani government, military and intelligence officials, and by credible media, academic and other sources, including on occasion Bureau researchers. Below is a summary of CIA drone strikes and casualty estimates for 2009, post President Obama’s inauguration. Please note that our data changes according to our current understanding of particular strikes. Below represents our present best estimate.
CIA strikes – Obama 2009
|Total CIA drone strikes||53|
|Total reported killed:||517-729|
|Civilians reported killed:||98-207|
|Children reported killed:||36-41|
|Total reported injured:||301-376|
For the most recent CIA drone strikes in Pakistan click here for the 2013 database. For the 2012 database click here and for the Pakistan 2011 data click here. For the 2010 drone strike database click here and for the database encompassing the President Bush strikes, from 2004 to 2009, go here.
January 2009 – March 2009
Ob0 – January 22 2009
Two days after Barack Obama’s inauguration, US drones supported the Pakistani Army in what may have been a unique joint operation. An unnamed Pakistani intelligence officer told the Wall Street Journal that a combination of US surveillance, Pakistani human intelligence and informants were used to track alleged al Qaeda operative Zabu ul Taifi, a Saudi national, to a safe house in Khyber Agency, where he was captured alongside six others. The report added:
Once authorities were confident Mr. Taifi was in the walled, mud compound, Pakistani paramilitary forces backed by helicopters grabbed him, the officer said. Throughout, Predator drones hovered overhead and would have attacked if Mr. Taifi or other suspects had tried to escape, the officer said.’
But an unnamed Pakistani military officer who claimed to have participated in the raid told The News that Taifi was tracked by the CIA through his ‘frequent use of Internet and cell phone’ and was actually seized by CIA operatives who were on the ground during the mission. ‘The Americans seemed quite excited after capturing the Saudi national and immediately bundled him into their vehicle’. Eight agents were present, in ‘technologically-equipped cars’ that were connected to the drone overhead, the report added. The Pakistanis were told by the CIA that Taifi was among the planners of the July 7 bombings in London, the officer added.
Ob1 – January 23 2009
♦ 7-15 total killed
♦ 7-11 civilians reported killed, including 1 child
♦ 1 child injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Law suit (Reprieve), field researchers (Bureau), testimony of injured survivor (Der Spiegel, Stanford/NYU Living Under Drones).
The first fatal Obama strike killed between seven and fifteen people, reported initially as ‘foreign militants’. In a later report personally given to Obama by his then-CIA chief General Hayden, the Agency admitted missing its high value target and killing ‘five al Qaeda militants’, but made no mention of civilian deaths (Bob Woodward). However Newsweek reported in May 2012 that the President was made aware that civilians had died almost immediately:
Obama was understandably disturbed. How could this have happened? The president had vowed to change America’s message to the Muslim world, and to forge a “new partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interest.” Yet here he was, during his first week in the White House, presiding over the accidental killing of innocent Muslims. As Obama briskly walked into the Situation Room the following day, his advisers could feel the tension rise. “You could tell from his body language that he was not a happy man,” recalled one participant.
The house of Khalil Khan Dawar was destroyed, and up to 15 people died. Between seven and eleven civilians, mostly of one family and including one child, reportedly died. Another boy survived with terrible injuries, as Der Spiegel reported at the time: ’14-year-old Fahim Qureshi, lost his left eye, suffered a fractured skull and was hit by several shards in the stomach.’ In February 2012 Pakistan lawyer Mirza Shahzad Akbar filed a case with the UN Human Rights Council citing this attack amongst others:
Ejaz Ahmad is a resident of Hasu Khel, North Wazir Ali, North Waziristan, Pakistan. On Friday, January 23, 2009, he was in the village of Hasu Khel. 3-4 kilometers away, in the village of Zeraki, his cousin, Faheem Qureshi, and a number of his other relatives were gathered at the house of Mohammad Khaleel [Khan Dawar], a retired school teacher. Also present were Khaleel’s son and Qureshi’s 8th grade classmate [14-year old] Azaz-ur-Rehman; Mansoor-ur-Rehman, a teacher at the boys’ school in Zeraki; and Kushdil Khan, Ahmad’s maternal uncle who owned a hardware store in Meer Ali. In addition, Ubaid Ullah, Rafiq Ullah, and Safat Ullah were also present [described elsewhere as farmers].
At around 5 PM that day, a missile struck the house, reducing it to rubble and killing everyone inside except Faheem Qureshi. Qureshi suffered the loss of an eye, and was struck in the stomach by shrapnel, requiring a major operation. He also suffered a skull fracture and damage to his ear drum, resulting in the loss of hearing in one ear. Upon hearing the blast from his nearby village Hasu Khel, Ahmad immediately went to the scene of the strike. He found only the bodies of those listed above. There were no foreign nationals at the house and none of his relatives had any connection to terrorism or terrorist activity; they were innocent villagers.
In 2012, researchers from Stanford/NYU interviewed Faheem Qureshi and his cousin Ejaz Ahmad, who saw the strike the next day. They described Khalil as a father of nine, Mansoor-ur-Rehman was a father of five and ‘a former driver who had worked in the United Arab Emirates’. Ubaid Ullah, Rafiq Ullan and Safat Ullah were Khalil’s neighbours, they added, and Azaz-ur-Rehman was 21 years old. Women and children were also in ‘a nearby space, separate from the men’, Ejaz said.
The Bureau’s researchers added a further four named people identified as civilians and reportedly killed in the strike: ‘Shams, Noor, Majid, and Siraj. They belonged to the Dawar tribe. Siraj was the nephew of former Member of Parliament, Maulana Muhammad Deendar, from North Waziristan. He belonged to the religious party, JUI-F.’
Many hundreds later attended the funerals of those killed.
Location: Zeraki, Mir Ali, North Waziristan.
References: Washington Post, Dawn, Dawn, Der Spiegel, Dawn, Geo TV, Long War Journal, Jang (Urdu), Reprieve, Newsweek, Daily Times, BBC, Guardian, Salon, The News, The News, Newsweek, International Reporting Fellows, Stanford/NYU Living Under Drones
Ob2 – January 23 2009
♦ 5-10 total killed
♦ 5-10 civilians including 3-4 children reported killed
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Three unnamed Pakistani intelligence officials (Dawn), unnamed local people (Dawn), unnamed local people (The Times), testimony of named survivor and named relative of victims (CIVIC), two unnamed Taliban, victim’s brother and nephew, two unnamed ISI officers (Foreign Policy), Pakistani security official (Washington Post), unnamed officials (BBC), unnamed sources (Salon), unnamed official and tribal sources (The News), senior unnamed White House officials (Newsweek/Daily Beast)
An attack on what was reportedly the wrong house killed eight members of Malik Gulistan Khan‘s family, including Khan, three of his sons (the youngest aged three), and a nephew. Son Adnan survived the attack. A single report claimed seven ‘foreigners’ and three children had died, whilst journalist Pir Zubair Shah alternatively reported those killed as ‘a local elder, along with his son, two nephews, and a guest.’ Khan’s brother later met with researchers from CIVIC to describe his family’s plight:
We did nothing, have no connection to militants at all. Our family supported the government… no one has accepted responsibility for this incident so far.’
In a later report on strikes Ob1 and Ob2 personally given to President Obama by his CIA chief, the Agency admitted missing its high value target but gave no details of civilian deaths, according to Bob Woodward. This was contradicted by a 2012 report in Newsweek stating that Obama was informed almost immediately of the civilian deaths.
Location: Ganki Khel, Wana, South Waziristan.
References: Dawn, Dawn, The Times, Civic (pdf), Foreign Policy, Daily Times, Washington Post, Geo TV, Long War Journal, BBC, Guardian, Salon, The News, The News, Newsweek
Letter obtained by Civic revealing that local authorities knew of January 23 civilian deaths
Ob3 – February 14 2009
♦ 26-35 total killed
♦ 1-9 civilians including 1 child reported killed
♦ 15 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Law suit (Reprieve), eyewitness testimony and photograph of victim’s funeral (Noor Behram), field researchers (Bureau).
This first Obama strike against the Pakistan Taliban (TTP) and its leader Baitullah Mehsud, struck the house of Malik Rosan, a madrassa and also a vehicle. Up to 35 people were killed (including up to 25 Uzbek militants, according to the Taliban) and 15 people were injured. The New York Times reported that ‘It was unclear if any civilians where killed in Saturday’s strikes, which residents say also hit a madrassa.’ One confirmed civilian death was that of 8-year old boy Noor Syed, the son of Maezol Khan who died after being hit by flying shrapnel. Local photographer Noor Behram, who visited the attack site and attended Noor’s funeral (see below), later wrote:
The strike was apparently intended for a car that was near the house and the child was killed by a missile part flying into the house.’
In video testimony the dead child’s grandfather later asked: ‘How can the US invade our homes while we are sleeping, and target our children?’ A case laid before the UN Human Rights Council in February 2012 stated:
Maezol Khan is a resident of Makeen in South Waziristan, Pakistan. In the early morning of February 14, 2009, he and his son were sleeping in the courtyard of their home when a missile from a drone struck a nearby car. As a result of the explosion, a missile part flew into the courtyard, killing Maezol’s eight-year-old son. In addition, there were approximately 30 people killed or injured in the attack
The Bureau’s Waziristan researchers also identified eight further civilians they say were among those killed, named as ‘Masal, Mehboob, Waris, Wasim, Ihsan, Javed and Tahir. They were all from the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe. The name of the 8th person who was killed couldn’t be confirmed.’
Location: Narsi Khel, Zangari, South Waziristan.
References: The Nation, New York Times, Geo TV, Reuters, Geo TV, Dawn, Long War Journal, Jang (Urdu), Reprieve, The News, Bureau (rescuers investigation), Bureau (rescuers data), Xinhua
Noor Syed, aged 8 (Photo Noor Behram)
Ob4 – February 16 2009
♦ 30-31 total killed
♦ Civilian deaths possible
♦ 3-7 injured
In the first reported CIA attack on Kurram Agency, a 9am strike killed up to 31 people. Local resident Rehman Ullah said he saw 30 bodies pulled from the rubble of a building destroyed in the strike. Anonymous informants said the Taliban ordered 30 coffins from the local bazaar. However the Taliban themselves said only 12 people were killed in the attack. And the local politicial administration confirmed 18 deaths.
The target was reportedly a camp run by Afghan Taliban commander Bahram Khan Kochi. However, tribal elders reported that civilians also died, claiming at a jirga that ’innocent people had been killed in the strike.’
Ob5 – March 1 2009
♦ 7-12 total killed
♦ 3 injured
A strike on an alleged TTP compound (complete with underground bunkers) killed up to twelve and injured three. The buildings were reportedly owned by tribesman Asghar Shamankhel, described as having ‘militant links’ (Dawn). Four ‘foreigners from Central Asian states’ were reported to be among the dead. Questioned about the attack that day by Fox News, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen told the channel:
I’m not going to talk a lot about our operations specifically. There is a continuing concern with the existence of the safe haven in the FATA in Pakistan, and that has to be addressed, has been addressed, and needs to continue to be addressed. We’ve brought pressure on both sides of the border, Pakistani military as well as coalition forces and Afghan forces, and we did towards the end of 2008, and that will continue to happen, and we need to continue to bring that pressure on both sides and continue to coordinate that — those operations.
Ob6 – March 12 2009
♦ 14-25 total killed
♦ Civilians deaths claimed, numbers unknown
♦ 30-50 injured
For the second time in a month the CIA’s drones struck Kurram Agency. Multiple strikes on a ‘TTP compound’ killed up to 25 people and injured 41. The compound was reportedly run by local commander Fazal Saeed Haqqani, who survived. The entire compound caught fire according to one report (BBC). A mosque’s loudspeakers were used to warn local residents off approaching the compound for fear of more drone attacks. The BBC reported that ‘Taleban guards said that some of those in the camp were hostages the Taleban were holding’ and the house of tribal elder Malik Jamil was also reported damaged.
The CIA later briefed senior Pakistani officials on this attack, according to Bob Woodward in Obama’s Wars.
Location: Barjo, Kurram Agency.
References: BBC News, Dawn, Geo TV, Associated Press, Reuters, The News, New York Times, Long War Journal, Two CIrcles, Express Tribune, Pakistan Tribune, Long War Journal, Woodward/ Obama’s Wars
Ob7 – March 15 2009
♦ 2-5 total killed
Up to five people were killed including one or two ‘Arabs’ in an attack on ‘the compound of local militant commander Taj Ali Khan’ or ‘the house of Haji Awais’. The News reported that Ali Khan was killed along with a ‘foreigner’. The attack was the latest in a number outside the FATA tribal areas.
Ob8 – March 25 2009
♦ 7-8 total killed
♦ 5 injured
Up to eight people were killed (six reportedly ‘Arabs and Uzbeks’), and five wounded in an attack on alleged militants in two cars as they were about to cross a bridge. The house of Haji Dost Muhammad aka Noor Mohammad was also reported destroyed. He and Maulvi Shafiq, both playing host to those killed, may have been killed or injured in the attack.
Journalist David Rohde, being held captive by the Taliban at the time, was caught up in the strike and later wrote a powerful first-hand account:
The missiles had struck two cars, killing a total of seven Arab militants and local Taliban fighters. I felt a small measure of relief that no civilians had been killed… Several days after the drone strike near our house in Makeen, we heard that foreign militants had arrested a local man. He confessed to being a spy after they disemboweled him and chopped off his leg. Then they decapitated him and hung his body in the local bazaar as a warning.
Ob9 – March 26 2009
♦ 4-5 total killed
♦ 0-5 civilians deaths possible
♦ 5 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: a local security official said ‘residents’ killed (AFP), reports say ‘people’ rather than militants killed (Long War Journal, Geo TV).
Up to five were killed, described only as ‘people’, and five wounded in an explosion at a house of ‘pro-militant’ tribal elder Malik Gulab Khan. AFP reported that ‘residents’ were killed. The intended targets were reportedly Abu Kasha-linked militants. Although reported as a drone strike some Pakistani officials disputed whether one had taken place, however.
April 2009 – June 2009
Ob10 – April 1 2009
♦ 12-14 total killed
♦ 5 civilians reported killed, including 3 children
♦ 13-16 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Unnamed sources (SATP, Dawn, The News)
The home compound of ‘militant TTP commander’ Maulvi Gul Nazeer aka Gul Mulla was attacked in Orakzai Agency (the first known strike there). Gul Nazeer’s wife; daughter-in-law; two sons (Abdullah and Abdul Latif) and a nephew (Mohammad Shoaib) were all reported killed. Also slain were four or five alleged militants, including Kaka, an al Qaeda operative, and three other ‘Arabs’. Hakimuulah Mehsud, who went on to lead the TTP, may have been the target of the strike. He later told Reuters that six of his fighters had died in the attack. The CIA also briefed senior Pakistani officials on the strike, according to Bob Woodward in Obama’s Wars.
The TTP later reported that it had executed a man called Muhammad Qasim aka Kashif in connection with the attack: ‘Qasim had accepted all charges against him in the Taliban court, including spying to facilitate the first-ever drone attack in Orakzai Agency on the house of a militant commander Maulvi Gul Nazeer.’ On April 4 the TTP also launched a wave of suicide attacks across Pakistan, which according to a leaked US diplomatic cable were
In retaliation for an alleged drone attack in Orakzai agency on April 1. Hakimullah [Mehsud, TTP leader] announced the Pakistani Taliban planned to carry out two attacks each week within Pakistan in what he called “revenge” against Pakistan for the missile strikes.
Location: Khadezai, Orakzai Agency.
References: SATP, Express Tribune, Reuters, Voice of America, Al Jazeera English, Dawn, PakTribune, Foreign Policy, Geo TV, ANI, The Nation, Pajhwok, BBC, Los Angeles Times, Daily Times, Critical Threats, The News, The News, US diplomatic cable
Ob11 – April 4 2009
♦ 13 total killed
♦ 8-13 civilians reported killed, including 3-5 children
♦ ‘Several’ injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Unnamed sources (Geo TV, The Nation), unnamed local officials (BBC, SATP), ‘close relative’ of owner of the targeted house (Dawn), reports (All Voices).
Up to five children and five women were reported to be among 13 civilians killed after a strike hit an ammunition store at a Taliban camp, damaging nearby houses. ‘Teacher’ or ‘militant sympathiser’ Tariq Dawar Khan was also reported possibly killed, along with ‘a number of foreign militants’. However the Taliban said all of the dead were civilians. And The News reported that those killed were not foreigners but house owner Mohammad Hussain, his nephew Shafiq and relative Qadir, along with five women and five children from their immediate families. Other reports placed the number of women and children killed between five and seven. Dawn reported that:
A tribesman said the place was littered with body parts and it was difficult to recognise the victims. He said that villagers collected body parts from rubble and put them into sacks for burial.
Reuters reported that ‘hours later, Pakistani Taliban militant leader Baitullah Mehsud claimed responsibility for a shooting at a US immigration center in New York in which a gunman killed 13 people, saying it was revenge for U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan.’ However the perpetrator of that attack appeared to have no links whatsoever with any militant group.
Related article: Drones: Untangling the data
Ob12 – April 8 2009
♦ 4 total killed
♦ 4-5 civilians reported injured
An attack on a truck rigged as an anti-aircraft vehicle killed four alleged militants after its occupants had earlier fired on a drone. The strike also destroyed two of the nearby shops, wounding up to five civilians, two critically. A Pakistani security official told Dawn:
Drones returned after some time and targeted a vehicle, which was parked near some shops. Three people were killed in the attack. Four others were wounded — they were either shopkeepers or local residents.’
Three of those killed were reported to be ‘Punjabi militants’, with the fourth allied to local leader Maulvi Nazir.
Ob13 – April 19 2009
♦ 0-8 total killed
♦ 0-8 civilian deaths reported, including 0-2 children
♦ 3-5 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Unnamed sources (SATP), unnamed locals (Online News Pakistan), reports (The Nation).
Explosives-filled vehicles, reportedly being prepared as truck bombs, created ‘an enormous secondary explosion’ when they were struck by drones. The New York Times, citing anonymous US and Pakistani intelligence officials, wrote:
A truck parked inside a Qaeda compound in South Waziristan, in Pakistan’s tribal areas, erupted in a fireball when it was struck by a C.I.A. missile. American intelligence officials say that the truck had been loaded with high explosives, apparently to be used as a bomb, and that while its ultimate target remains unclear, the bomb would have been more devastating than the suicide bombing that killed more than 50 people at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in September.
The attack was also said to have flattened a compound reputedly owned by brothers Dayam and Waken Khan. Reuters claimed that nobody was killed in the attack, and that the compound was empty. However The News reported that civilians had died, with The Nation saying that women and children were among those killed.
The attack came one day after the negotiation of a local ceasefire.
Ob14 – April 29 2009
♦ 6-10 total killed
♦ 0-4 civilians reported killed
♦ 4 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Unnamed tribesmen (SATP), unnamed local elders (The News)
A late evening attack on a car killed al Qaeda planner Abu Sulayman al-Jazairi (previously reported killed in B16 in 2008) and up to nine others. A nearby house was badly damaged, with some ambiguity about those killed. A number of news agencies reported casualties simply as ‘people’, whilst AFP cited an official as saying that the deceased were ‘mostly Taliban militants.’ The News reported:
There were conflicting reports about the identity of those killed in the attack. The local elders claimed that those killed and injured in the attack were local people but some independent sources said the victims were suspected militants associated with a local extremist group.
Ob15 – May 9 2009
♦ 9-25 total killed
♦ 0-4 civilians killed
♦ 7 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Unnamed Pakistani intelligence spokesman said ‘people’ killed, distinct from ‘militants’ (Sky News).
Multiple missile strikes, including an attack on an ex-school and a vehicle, killed up to 25 people. The Pakistan Taliban (TTP) claimed that only five of its militants died in the strike, and Sky News reported that ‘Nine people – five of them militants – have reportedly been killed in a suspected US missile attack in northwestern Pakistan.’ Reflecting the initial confusion often associated with strikes, the Daily Times reported:
Officials claimed ten Taliban had been killed, a deputy Taliban commander said five were killed, the political administration claimed nine Taliban were killed, while tribesmen claimed they had counted 25 bodies.’
Ob16 – May 12 2009
♦ 8-9 total killed
♦ 4 injured
As many as nine people were killed (including ‘Taliban and foreign fighters’) in an attack on a housing compound. CNN reported a Taliban source as saying that it was used a training centre linked to Baitullah Mehsud’s TTP. Although most reports claimed that eight were killed, local resident Yar Mohammad told Associated Press ‘that he had seen Taliban militants removing nine bodies from the building and taking them away in vehicles.’
- Taliban rally in Swat 2009 (Photo: asadalip/ Flickr)
Ob17 – May 16 2009
♦ 25-40 total killed
♦ 9 civilian rescuers reported killed
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Field researchers named civilian victims (Bureau), an unnamed villager said ‘most of the dead were Pakistani militants’ (New York Times), an unnamed Pakistani security official described some of the dead as ‘people’, as distinct form militants (Geo TV), unnamed sources said ‘most’ of the dead were militants (The News).
In the first confirmed deliberate CIA attack on rescuers, up to 40 people, mostly Pakistani militants, were reported killed in a double attack on a vehicle and the reputed house of Hikmat Roshan. A nearby madrassa was also reported damaged. Two Arabs were reported among the dead, including Asad al-Misri, as well as a number of unnamed local commanders. Both the New York Times and The News cited locals as saying that those killed were ‘mostly militants.’
After a short pause returning drones then attacked rescuers as they tried to retrieve the dead and injured. Four Taliban rescuers died, according to the Bureau’s researchers in Waziristan, along with nine rescuers they identified as civilians and named as ‘Sabir, Ikram, Mohib, Zahid, Mashal and Syed Noor. All hailed from the Utmanzai Wazir tribe of North Waziristan . Names of three slain men couldn’t be obtained.’ The News quoted a local militant commander:
They were recovering bodies of the slain militants when the drone fired two more missiles, almost 12 minutes after the first attack. It was terrible as almost all the Taliban involved in rescue work were targeted… We lost very trained and sincere friends. Some of them were very senior Taliban commanders and had taken part in successful actions in Afghanistan. Bodies of most of them were beyond recognition.’
Location: Khesoor, Miram Shah, North Waziristan.
References: New York Times, Associated Press of Pakistan (archived), Dawn, Al Jazeera English, Geo TV, Frontier Star, The Nation, The News, Dawn, Jang (Urdu), The Bureau, The Bureau/ Sunday Times
Ob18 – June 14 2009
♦ 3-5 total killed
After a pause in bombing of almost a month, up to five militants, reported as Pakistani and ‘foreign’, were reported killed in a strike on a double-cabin truck (with two other vehicles possibly damaged), according to the Taliban.
Two alleged ‘US spies’, named as Sher Nawab and Anwar Khan, were later killed by the TTP in apparent retaliation for attacks in the area.
Ob19 – June 18 2009
♦ 12-14 total killed
♦ 4 civilians reported killed
♦ 10 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Named by field investigators (Bureau), unnamed local officials (BBC), elders and officials (The News) described dead as ‘people’ not ‘militants’.
Up to 13 people were killed and several wounded in a double strike near midnight on a housing compound reportedly used by Taliban commander Wali Mohammed aka Malang Wazir. Three died in the first attack, then seven rescuers were killed when a drone returned, including a nephew of Mohammed. The Bureau’s researchers identified the rescuers as comprising three Taliban and four civilians. the latter named as Jehanzeb, Liaqat, Daraz and Sabil.
Later ‘hundreds of Wazir tribesmen Friday took to the streets’ in protest at the attack, and ‘all the markets and shopping malls were closed to mourn the killing of 14 people.’
Ob20 – June 18 2009
♦ Unknown total killed
A strike was reported by ‘local security sources’ on an alleged militant training centre. The impact is unknown. This strike is sometimes merged with Ob19.
Location: Raghzai area, near Wana, South Waziristan.
References: Times of India
Ob21 – June 23 2009
♦ 6 total killed
♦ 7 injured
An attack against an alleged Baitullah Mehsud camp killed six militants including local TTP commander Niaz or Khwaz Wali Mehsud. A further seven were wounded. Wali Mehsud was reportedly killed as bait for a bigger fish. According to Washington Post national security correspondent Joby Warrick (The Triple Agent):
A [CIA] plan was quickly hatched to strike Baitullah Mehsud when he attended the man’s funeral. True… Wali Mehsud happened to be very much alive as the plan took shape. But he would not be for long.’
The News – citing ‘statistics compiled by the [Pakistani] Ministry of Interior’ - reported that Mullah Sangeen was killed in strike Ob21 or Ob22. But in August 2011 the US State Department added the alleged senior Haqqani Network militant to a ‘list of specially designated global terrorists‘.
Ob22 – June 23 2009
♦ 67-83 total killed
♦ 18-50 civilians reported killed, including 10 children
♦ 27 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Unnamed local residents (Dawn), named Taliban source (al Jazeera), named local resident (The Times), unnamed ‘sources close to the militants’ (SATP), unnamed sources (The News).
Drones returned during the funeral of Niaz Wali Mehsud, at which as many as 5,000 people were present. According to Joby Warrick (The Triple Agent)
Agency officials in Khost [a secret CIA drone base in Afghanistan] and Langley watched on flat-screen TVs.’
As people dispersed, up to three missiles were fired at suspected militant targets believed to include TTP leader Baitullah Mehsud, who either escaped or was never present. The missiles killed up to 83 people, including 18-50 civilians (among them reportedly ten children and four tribal leaders.) The dead were buried in a mass grave. Taliban leaders Maulvi Bilal, Khushdel and Shabir Khan were among those killed. Qari Hussain was also named among the dead. Also known as Ustad i Fidayeen (‘teacher of suicide bombers’), he was reported dead in several subsequent drone strikes (including Ob66, Ob138, Ob143 and Ob148) and in January 2011 was added to the State Department’s list of wanted terrorists.
Pakistan later condemned the attack, with Prime Minister Gilani raising the issue with the visiting US National Security Adviser, and a Foreign Ministry spokesman stating: ‘We have conveyed our serious concerns over the continued drone attacks to the United States. These are not acceptable and must be stopped.’ See also previous strike.
Location: Lattaka/ Najmarai, Makeen, South Waziristan.
References: Express Tribune, AFP, Dawn, Daily Telegraph, Al Jazeera English, New York Times, The Times (paywall), Uruknet, SATP, Geo TV, Long War Journal, The Triple Agent, The Bureau, The News, The Bureau/ Sunday Times, Xinhua, US State Department
July 2009 – September 2009
Ob23 – July 3 2009
♦ 0-5 total killed
♦ 0-5 civilians killed
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Unnamed Pakistani security official labels dead as ‘people’, contradicting separate unnamed sources’ use of ‘militants’ (The Nation, AFP).
An attack on a closed madrassa ‘occasionally used by the TTP’ killed either three, five or no people. The News, for example, reported that:
Three missiles were fired at a Madrassa, completely destroying the building. However, no loss of life was reported in the attack.’
In contrast AFP said that ‘One official had said initially that five people were killed when a missile slammed into a madrassa occasionally used as a training centre by Mehsud’s militia in Mantoi, but other officials could only confirm the first attack.’
Ob24 – July 3 2009
♦ 13-17 total killed
♦ 27-35 injured
An attack on a suspected training facility (or offices) run by TTP commander Noor Wali Mehsud killed up to 17 alleged militants and injured as many as 35 people. The News reported the following:
Tribal sources said a US drone fired three missiles at the office of Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud in Serwakai Tehsil at 9 am, killing 13 persons present in the office and injuring seven others.It was reported that Mufti Noor Wali had left the office 15 minutes prior to the attack to attend a Jirga. The injured were admitted to a private clinic, where four of them were stated to be in critical condition. The militants surrounded the area after the attack and nobody was allowed to approach the site.
Ob25 – July 7 2009
♦ 16-18 total killed
♦ 10 injured
Attacks against the TTP continued, with a lunchtime strike on an alleged training camp killing up to 18 people (among them five ‘foreigners’) and injuring a further ten. SATP reported sources as saying ‘that a local commander of Baitullah [Mehsud] was among the dead.‘ Geo TV named him as Kifayatullah Anikhel, a close relative of TTP leader Baitullah Mehsud.
Ob26 – July 8 2009
♦ 8-10 total killed
♦ 5-12 injured
For the second time in 24 hours an alleged TTP training camp was attacked. The strike in a forested area killed up to ten people, (including three ‘Punjabi Taliban’) with a dozen injured. The BBC reported:
Missiles hit the thickly-forested and mountainous Karwan Manza area, some 10km (six miles) south-east of Ladha. Officials say six missiles were fired, completely destroying a Taliban hideout, a day after another camp was hit in a similar attack nearby
A local Bureau source reported that the attack may have been on the funeral of a man named as Laiq Marjan, possibly killed the day before. On the same day Islamabad’s High Court dismissed a petition calling on Pakistan’s military to defend the nation’s airspace from drone attacks.
Video of the Karwan Manza training camp obtained by AfPax Insider
Ob27 – July 8 2009
♦ 35-40 total killed
♦ ‘Some’ injured
A five-vehicle convoy was destroyed and up to forty alleged ‘TTP and Punjabi militants’ were killed. Four Arabs and seven Uzbeks were reported among the dead by one source. A Pakistani security official reported that:
Almost 90 per cent of the militants traveling in the convoy were killed in the drone attack.’
Ob28 – July 10 2009
♦ 3-5 total killed
♦ 3 injured
A reputed TTP communications centre was attacked, killing up to five people and injuring three. Reuters reported the same day that US drones:
have [separately] resumed tracking militants in Pakistan to support Pakistani operations in South Waziristan. The US military began surveillance flights over Pakistani territory in mid-March but ceased a month later when Pakistan abruptly stopped requesting the intelligence.
Ob28c – July 10 2009
♦ 0-5 total killed
♦ 0-3 injured
Two media sources reported a possible drone strike that killed five – this may be part of Ob28.
Ob29 – July 17 2009
♦ 5-6 total killed
♦ 4-6 injured
An attack on a house allegedly linked to the TTP and owned by local cleric Maulana Abdul Majeed was destroyed, killing up to six people and wounding four or more. AP reported that ‘One resident said he heard a loud bang and that Taliban in the area are saying five colleagues are dead.’ Others reported that those killed had come from South Waziristan, and were being entertained at lunch by local Taliban when killed.
Ob30 – August 5 2009
♦ 2-12 total killed
♦ 1-4 civilians reported killed
♦ 5 injured, including 4 children
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Unnamed sources (New Yorker), unnamed Pakistani counterterrorism official (New York Times), unnamed local residents and named alleged militant relative of a victim (The Nation), unnamed relative of target (Reuters), unnamed intelligence sources and relatives (CNN), Pakistan’s then-interior minister Rehman Malik (Washington Post), unnamed locals and relatives of the target (BBC), The Triple Agent (Empty Wheel), unnamed senior Pakistani government official based in Peshawar (The News), senior unnamed Taliban commander, unnamed relatives of a victim (The News).
The CIA fatally wounded TTP leader Baitullah Mehsud (and his second wife) after multiple previous attempts. President Obama personally authorised the attack (CNN). As many as ten others also may have died, including his uncle, father-in-law Maulvi Ikramuddin and mother-in-law, and seven bodyguards. Four children were also injured.
According to Joby Warrick (The Triple Agent) the initial CIA summary sent to Leon Panetta at the White House made no mention of other casualties: ‘Two confirmed dead, no other deaths or serious injuries. Building still stands.’ Warrick told the Bureau that US officials continue to insist that only two died in the attack. The New Yorker later disclosed the existence of a CIA video of the strike, quoting a ‘senior security official’ who had seen the film: ‘ He was clearly visible with his wife…His torso remained, while half of the body was blown up.’
In May 2012 the New York Times reported that President Obama personally authorised the strike, knowing that civilians may have been present:
Mr. Obama, through Mr. Brennan [his senior counter-terrorism adviser], told the C.I.A. to take the shot, and Mr. Mehsud was killed, along with his wife and, by some reports, other family members as well, said a senior intelligence official.
Location: Zanghara, Ladha, South Waziristan.
References: New York Times, New Yorker, Reuters, Geo TV, CNN, The Guardian, Washington Post, The Nation, Reuters, BBC News, New York Times, EmptyWheel (blog), The News, The News, EmptyWheel (blog), Bloomberg
Ob31 – August 11 2009
♦ 14-25 total killed
♦ 0-6 civilians reported killed. At least 4 children died (possibly trainee suicide bombers)
♦ 5-7 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Unnamed Taliban sources (Dawn), survivor’s testimony identifies child casualties by name (Express Tribune), Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq (The News).
At the time of this strike, press reports stated only that a house turned into a ‘militant compound’ had been hit. The house belonged to Zangi Khan Burki, who had fled the area with his family. The nearby home of agency councilor Arif Zaman was also reported damaged in the attack. Local photographer Noor Behram, who visited the site shortly afterwards, later wrote:
The media reports were saying that there was a training centre which was targeted. The locals were angered and gathered things from the house and showed pictures of the “dangerous equipment” of the training centre.’
Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq also told Associated Press: ‘Today, an American missile hit a home in South Waziristan. Only innocent civilians were living there, and six of them died.’
However, almost two years later, survivor Arshad Khan revealed that the target may have been a Taliban teenage suicide bomber training camp (a precise date is not specified, although circumstantial evidence points to this attack). Between 14 and 25 people were killed, with 5-7 injured. Among the dead were four named teenagers: Ibad Ullah, Mohammad Arif, Abdul Qadeer and Hazrat Ali. The Taliban at the time claimed only that six women and children were killed.
Location: Saam, near Ladha, South Waziristan.
References: Press TV, Associated Press, Geo TV, SATP, New York Times, The News, Express Tribune, The News, Asia Times, Dawn, Christian Science Monitor, Antiwar, South Asia News
2009.08.11 Shoes etc Ob31 / Noor Behram
Ob32 – August 21 2009
♦ 17-21 total killed
♦ 9-13 civilians reported killed including 6 children
♦ 2+ injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Testimony of named victim’s father (Noor Behram), anonymous tribal sources identify civilian casualties by name (The News), reports (PTI), unnamed militant sources (SATP), unnamed Pakistani officials (New York Times), unnamed local tribal elder (al Jazeera), unnamed sources (Geo TV, Geo TV).
Up to 21 people were killed, including three women and six children (one named as Syed Wali Shah, pictured below), in an attack on a madrassa linked to Sirajuddin Haqqani. Five houses were destroyed, and no rescue was initially attempted because of the continuing presence of drones. The father of dead child Syed Wali Shah later told photographer Noor Behram:
We had no idea of what was happening or why. We heard a blast at around 2.30 in the morning, and then part of a missile hit our house in the courtyard where the whole family was sleeping.
The News identified others killed as four men named as Gul Dar, Haji Munawar, Zainullah and Sahibullah. The dead women and children included Naeemullah and his mother, Faizullah and his mother and two girls named as Rahima and Shaista. It reported that five other bodies were taken away by the Taliban.
2009.08.21 Syed Wali Shah, aged 7 Ob32 / Noor Behram
Ob33 – August 27 2009
♦ 8-10 total killed
♦ 6-9 injured
In a significant strike, Uzbek militant leader Tahir Yuldashev was killed with up to nine others in an attack on the house of Azam Khan Mehsud. According to later reports he ‘lost a leg and arm in the drone missile strike and was rushed to a hospital in Zhob (Balochistan), where he had [a month] later succumbed to his injuries.’
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan group (IMU) denied Yuldashev’s death for exactly a year before finally admitting it. His successor Usman Atil was reported killed in an April 29 2012 CIA drone strike.
Ob34 – September 7 2009
♦ 5-8 total killed
♦ 3 civilians reported killed
♦ 2-7 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following report: Law suit (Reprieve),
Senior al Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri was ‘killed’ (he also reportedly ‘died’ in May 2011 before actually dying in a US strike on June 3 2011) along with up to five alleged militants. The attack reportedly struck a vehicle as it entered the village. But a nearby home was caught up in the blast, with three members of a family killed in the evening attack.
Survivor 15-year old Sadaullah Wazir, who lost both legs and an eye in the strike, later launched a lawsuit against the CIA. His wheelchair-bound uncle Mautullah Jan and his two cousins Sabir-ud-Din and Kadanullah Jan were killed. Ajman Ullah was also among the injured. In a case later placed before the UN Human Rights Council it was reported:
On September 7, 2009, the villagers of Machi Khel observed two drones hovering overhead throughout the day. This prompted fear and anger amongst the villagers, who viewed the drones’ presence as a threat, and interference with their religious observations of the holy month of Ramadan. In the evening, Sadaullah and his family, including grandfathers, uncles, and cousins, gathered at his grandfather’s house to celebrate the breaking of their fast. Upon the ritual breaking of the fast, the family stepped outside into the courtyard to offer Maghrib, or evening, prayer. Sadaullah joined the prayer late, as he had been serving the guests. As the family members finished their prayers, they returned into the main room of the house. Sadaullah and his elder cousin Ajman Ullah were the last to finish their prayers.
As they were about to re-enter the house from the courtyard, the two drones fired their missiles at the building. Sadaullah was hit by debris falling from the roof and knocked unconscious. He awoke in a hospital in Peshawar. Both his legs had been amputated, and had lost the use of one eye due to flying shrapnel. A number of his family members had been killed in the blasts: Mautullah Jan, uncle, had been in a wheelchair for the last decade; Kadaanullah Jan, cousin; Sabir-ud-Din, cousin. Ajman Ullah had also been hospitalized and severely injured, though not fatally. None of the victims were involved in any terrorist activity or with any terrorist organizations, they were innocent villagers.
Ob35 – September 8 2009
♦ 10-15 total killed
♦ 5 civilians reported killed, including 3 children
♦ 4 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Unnamed local people (Dawn), unnamed sources (Geo TV) and intelligence officials (al Jazeera, Deutsche Presse Agentur) said ‘people’ rather than ‘militants’ killed.
Up to fifteen people were killed in a strike on the house of Ismael Khan which also damaged adjacent homes. The target, an alleged Taliban compound, was said to be run by Haqqani-affiliated militant Maulvi Taib Shah (possibly killed). Three children and two women were also said to be among the dead, according to Dawn. Giving rare details of Taliban deaths, The News identified ten militants it said were killed as
Commander Khushal Khan of Bachkan Ahmadzai, Sibghatullah of Abakhel, Ismail of Wanda Shah Madu, Sifatullah of Shaikhan Sra Darga, Aminullah of Jabbarkhel, Bilal of Kattakhel, Hamidullah of Malang Adda, Razaullah of Baistkhel, Irfanullah of Mela Shahabkhel and Kifayatullah of Samandar Titterkhel.’
Ob36 – September 14 2009
♦ 5 total killed
♦ 2-3 injured
An attack destroyed a car in an explosion that was heard 15 miles away. Mir Ali resident Akhtar Rasool told Reuters: ‘The vehicles is in flames and we can see smoke rising from the scene.’ Five people died including Islamic Jihad Union leader Najmiddin Kamolitdinovic Jalolov, aka Yahyo. A senior Pakistani intelligence official told Reuters: ‘He was among three top militant commanders from central Asia who had an affiliation with al Qaeda and had been working in and from our territory.’ Al Qaeda’s Ilyas Kashmiri was wrongly claimed killed for the second time in a week (See September 7 2009.)
Ob37 – September 24 2009
♦ 10-12 total killed
♦ 0-12 civilians reported killed
♦ 5 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Unnamed local residents (Dawn).
An attack on an alleged Haqqani Network housing compound owned by Ahmad Afghani killed up to twelve people and injured five. A local intelligence official told The Nation:
The building acted as an office where Taliban militants would come to receive orders and rest between bouts of fighting across the border in Afghanistan.’
But residents told Dawn that civilians were killed in the attack. It noted that according to local officials, ‘supporters of Abdul Manan, a key commander of Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, were in the house. Manan was killed in Afghanistan last year. However, residents rejected the official claim and said that local people who were sleeping outside the house were killed in the attack. The injured people were taken to a hospital in Miramshah and later shifted to an unspecified place.’
Ob38 – September 29 2009
♦ 5-6 total killed
♦ 6 injured
An afternoon attack allegedly on the TTP leader’s brother, Kalimullah Mehsud, killed six and injured six. Some reports state he died in the attack – though it was also claimed he was killed that day by Pakistan forces. Yet others say the target was actually Irfan Shamankhel aka Irfan Mehsud. Three ‘Uzbek militants’ were also reported to be among the dead.
Ob39 – September 29 2009
♦ 4-9 total killed
♦ 0-4 civilians killed
♦ 2-6 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Anonymous tribal sources said ‘people’ were killed, distinct from other ‘militant’ casualties (Pakistan Tribune).
An attack on an alleged Haqqani Network facility – the house of ‘Mustafa, [or Emarati] an Afghan national’ and reported militant – killed up to nine and injured as many as six people. The Pakisten Tribune ambiguously reported that ‘All the victims were said to be Afghan refugees.’
2009.09.30 Dandy Darpa Khel, Ob39 / Noor Behram
Ob39c – September 29 2009
♦ Unknown total killed
A possible strike on a government guest house in Khyber Agency was reported by some media. No casualties were recorded.
Ob40 – September 30 2009
♦ 8-9 total killed
♦ 4-5 injured
Up to nine alleged militants were reported killed including ‘three Arabs, three Pakistanis, a Chechen and an Uzbek’ in an attack on two vehicles and a housing compound reported to be owned by a man named as Baddin.
October 2009 – December 2009
Ob41 – October 15 2009
♦ 3-4 total killed
♦ 7 injured
A pre-dawn attack on an alleged Haqqani Network housing compound – owned by an ‘Afghan refugee’ – killed up to four people and injured seven. The dead were reported to be part of the Ghaznavi group of the Haqqani Network.
2009.10.15 House Destroyed, Ob41 / Noor Behram
Ob42 – October 21 2009
♦ 3 total killed
♦ 8 injured, including 2 children
Al Qaeda explosives expert Abu Musa al-Masri was reportedly killed along with two others. The attack, coming at the start of a Pakistan military offensive in South Waziristan, appears to have been hushed up for fear of unraveling a local Taliban ceasefire. According to Fox News
It hit territory controlled by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a militant leader the army has coaxed into remaining neutral during the offensive against the Mehsud faction in South Waziristan’
AP reported that two young girls were also injured in the attack: Sameeda Gul, 6, hurt in her right leg, and Fatima Gul, 4, with head injuries. ‘Neither injury appeared to be life-threatening,’ the agency reported.
Ob43 – October 24 2009
♦ 20-27 total killed
♦ 8 injured
An attack near the home of TTP deputy leader Maulvi Faqir Mohammed in Bajaur Agency (the first since May 2008) reportedly missed him by minutes. Senior Taliban leaders from ‘Bajaur, Swat, Dir Upper and Dir Lower districts’ had allegedly gathered for a shura or council meeting in underground bunkers. The strike killed up to 27 people (including Faqir’s nephew Zahid; his son-in-law, and ‘three foreign militants’, possibly Uzbeks or Arabs) and injured eight.
Ob44 – November 5 2009
♦ 4-6 total killed
♦ 8 injured
The home of local ‘militant’ or ‘tribesman’ Musharaf Gul was bombed, killing up to six people and injuring eight.
Ob45 – November 18 2009
♦ 3-6 total killed
♦ 3-5 injured
A strike on an alleged ‘militant hideout’ and/ or the house of Gul Bat killed up to six people and wounded five. One source identified Salah al-Somali (status unknown) as the target and said that three ‘foreigners’ were killed.
Ob46 – November 20 2009
♦ 3-10 total killed
♦ 3 civilians reported killed, including one child
♦ 2-12 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Law suit (Reprieve).
Up to ten alleged militants were killed and as many as a dozen wounded in an attack on a ‘training compound’ or house. Some ‘foreigners’ may have been among the dead, according to reports.
But lawyer Mirza Shahzad Akbar has challenged these claims. He has named Razm Khan, 15-year old Sakeenullah and Shafiq as civilians killed in the strike. In a case placed before the UN Human Rights Council in February 2012 he states:
On November 20, 2009, Razm Khan; Sakeenullah, a grade ten student and cousin of Samiullah; and Shafiq, were gathered in Aziz Khel, Miranshah, North Waziristan. At 8:30AM a missile struck the building, killing everyone inside. None of the victims were involved in any terrorist activity or with any terrorist organizations; they were innocent villagers.
The News said that the struck house belonged to a man named as Gandak.
Ob47 – December 8 2009
♦ 4 total killed
♦ 3 injured, possibly including civilians
Al Qaeda planner Said al-Somali was killed with three others (two reported as Saudis), and three people were injured (possibly nearby civilians), in an attack on a car. Up to seven drones were reportedly involved.
Ob48 – December 10 2009
♦ 6 total killed
♦ 8 injured
A previously unreported strike killed six – including four ‘foreigners’ – and injured eight. Sensitivities during ongoing Pakistan Army operations in South Waziristan may have been responsible for the assertion by the Army’s spokesman that ‘No Predator drone strike has taken place today’.
Ob49 – December 17 2009
♦ 2 total killed
Two alleged militants were killed in a 4am attack on a car that also damaged three nearby houses and a mosque. A first missile may have missed its target, enabling some suspects to escape.
Ob50 – December 17 2009
♦ 12-16 total killed
♦ 6 civilians reported killed
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Field researchers identify civilian casualties by name (Bureau), unnamed Pakistan intelligence officials (CNN, Associated Press), Pakistan security officials (New York Times), Pakistan officials (Washington Post), and ‘sources’ (The Nation) described casualties as ‘people’, rather than civilians.
An attack with five drones destroyed two houses and two cars. Up to fifteen people were killed, including ‘foreigners’ (reportedly six Al Qaeda and nine Haqqani Network supporters). These included ’well known al Qaeda commanders’ Abdullah Said al Libi and Zuhaib al-Zahibi. There were some claims that the ultimate, unsuccessful target was Osama bin Laden’s brother in law Sheikh Saeed al Saudi. But rescuers were also targeted in the attack.
According to the Bureau’s Waziristan researchers two Taliban first-responders died along with six civilians, named as ‘Bashirullah, Amir Khan, Shairullah, Abidullah and Fazle Rabbi. All belonged to the Dawar tribe. The name of the 6th person who was killed couldn’t be confirmed.’
Location: Ambar Shaga, North Waziristan.
References: BBC News, Al Jazeera English, CNN, Washington Post, The Daily Times, Long War Journal, Holger Awakens, Associated Press, The Nation, AFP, New York Times, Jang (Urdu)
Ob51 – December 18 2009
♦ 5-8 total killed
♦ 5 civilians reported killed
♦ 5 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Field researchers identified civilian casualties by name (Bureau), unnamed local people (Xinhua), unnamed ‘sources’ (Geo TV).
An attack on alleged Taliban members attending funeral prayers for the victims of Ob50 killed up to eight people (among them ‘Punjabi militants’) and injured five. One report stated that the tents of Afghan nomads were also struck – with casualties unknown.
The Bureau’s Waziristan researchers report that five civilians were killed whom they name as ‘Syed Noor, Shakirullah, Banaras and Fayyaz. All of them were from the Dawar tribe. The name of the 5th slain person couldn’t be confirmed.’
2009.12.18 House Destroyed, Ob50 / Noor Behram
Ob52 – December 26 2009
♦ 14-20 total killed
♦ 6 civilians reported killed
♦ 12 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Eyewitness report (Noor Behram), unnamed local intelligence official (al Jazeera).
Local Taliban commander Abdur Rehman Wazir was (again) reported to have died following a strike that killed up to thirteen alleged Taliban and injured a dozen as they ate dinner. The reputed home of Asmatullah was destroyed. A Taliban commander later told The News: ‘We lost fourteen of our dear colleagues. They were all locals.’
In contrast Al Jazeera reported a local intelligence official as saying that ‘those killed were all civilians.’ And photographer Noor Behram was told that six members of one family had also died. It may be that another property was also hit in the strike.
Ob53 – December 31 2009
♦ 3-7 total killed
♦ 3 civilians reported killed, including 1 child
♦ 2 injured
The civilian casualty figures included in this summary are based on the following reports: Law suit (Reprieve).
In the first drone strike since the devastating TTP-Al Qaeda attack on a CIA base in Afghanistan on December 30, North Waziristan’s Taliban commander Haji Omar Khan was reported killed along with up to six others, some of them civilians. Journalist Karim Khan, claimed at the time by one source to be ‘close to militants’ was the owner of the house. His 17-year old son Zaenullah Khan, brother Asif Iqbal and a local stonemason Khaliq Dad all died.
In December 2010 Pakistani barrister Mirza Shahzad Akbar filed an application with Islamabad’s Secretariat Police Station to register a First Information Report against Jonathan Banks, then-Station Chief of the CIA in Islamabad, for his alleged involvement in the deaths. The outing of Banks led to his having to leave Pakistan. In a case placed before the UN Human Rights Council by Akbar in February 2012 it was stated:
On December 31, 2009, at approximately 9pm, [Karim Khan's] family house was attacked with missiles fired from a drone. Three people inside the house were killed, and severely damaged Khan’s house. The three killed were Asif Iqbal, the complainant’s brother and a secondary school teacher at a local public school; Zahin Ullah Khan, the complainant’s son, a government employee working at the Government Girls Public School Mira Khan Kot; and Khaliq Dad, a mason who was working on construction of the village mosque, and was staying with Khan’s family in the house. None of the victims were involved in any terrorist activity or with any terrorist organizations.
In October 2012 the British Daily Mail featured a lengthy interview with Khan in which he discussed the aftermath of the attack. Describing how he had received a 2am call informing him of the attack, Khan described how ‘I called a friend who had a car and we started driving through the night to get back to the village. It was a terrible journey. I was shocked, grieving, angry, like anyone who had lost their loved ones. He says that he reached the village soon after dawn, saying that it was ‘like entering a village of the dead – it was so quiet. There was a crowd gathered outside the compound but nowhere for them to sit because the guest rooms had been destroyed’. His son ‘had been killed instantly, but despite his horrific injuries, [Khan's brother] Asif had survived long enough to be taken to a nearby hospital. However, he died during the night,’ the paper reported. More than 1,000 people attended the funerals that day, Khan said.
Location: Machi Khel, Mir Ali, North Waziristan.
References: BBC News, Dawn, Dawn, Long War Journal, Geo TV, Asian Tribune, CNN, AFP, SATP, AFP, The Nation, Woxmobile, Mullahmilitarymedia, Reprieve, Reprieve, first FIR report, second FIR report, Daily Mail, al Jazeera
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