The timeline below contains information on all US drone and air strikes and other covert actions in Pakistan recorded by the Bureau in 2017. The frequency of strikes in this country decreased significantly in 2016, a pace that continues in 2017, and there is little information in the following timeline as a result.
The Bureau collects information on US actions in Pakistan from as diverse an array of sources as possible. Most information on strikes and the people they kill can be found in reports by national, such as Pakistani newspapers Dawn or The News, and international media organisations, including Reuters, the New York Times and the BBC. Academic and NGO reports also contribute to our datasets as well as our own field investigations.
Please note that our data changes according to our current understanding of particular strikes. The information below represents our present best estimate.
With the support of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the Bureau has also launched a stand-alone project, Naming the Dead, aimed at identifying the people – civilians and terrorists – who often die unnamed in US strikes in Pakistan.
The US has been bombing Pakistan with drones since June 2004. The CIA was responsible for all US drone strikes in the country until May 2016 when a US Special Forces drone strike ended the spy agency’s exclusive hold on the drone war in Pakistan.
The strikes have been targeting al Qaeda and its allies, including the Afghan Taliban, as well as the Pakistan Taliban or TTP – domestic terrorists dedicated to overthrowing the Pakistani government. Hundreds of civilians have also perished, including women and children, as well as many senior members of terrorist groups. However the status of many more people killed remains unknown. They die unnamed, recorded merely as a “militant” in the media reports that make up the bulk of the dataset’s source material. But whether or not they belong to any armed group, let alone their status within that group, is unclear.
The Bureau publishes a narrative timeline of US strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen each year. The 2017 timeline for Pakistan is below. Links for all other timelines can be found here.
We also publish spreadsheets detailing casualty numbers in each country. You can download the entire Pakistan sheet here.
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2 March 2017
- 2 reported killed
A suspected US drone strike killed two men in the tribal area of Kurram in Pakistan, which lies on the border with Afghanistan, according to multiple sources.
A local government official and a village elder told Reuters that the drone strike hit a Pakistani village near the border with Afghanistan in Kurram Agency. "A drone missile struck the motorcycle which caught fire and then exploded," village elder Haji Zamin Hussain told Reuters. The official said it was not clear who the strike was targeting, but the strike hit northern Kurram agency.
AP reported three intelligence officials saying that a suspected US drone strike hit Kurram agency killing two men whose identity they did not know. Geo News reported "officials of the political administration" saying a drone strike hit an area of Lower Kurram Agency and killed two people.
Tribal sources in Pakistan identified one of the men killed as Qari Abdullah Sabari, a commander of the Afghan Taliban, and the second man as Shakir, an Afghan national, according to The News. Two missiles reportedly struck their motorcycle in Sra Ghundai area.
In AP, a Taliban official said that Qari Abdullah, described as a top Haqqani Network commander who accompanied US Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl when he was handed over to US authorities in 2014, died in a strike. This is the same name given by the tribal sources in The News, but the Taliban commander said the strike that killed Qari Abdullah took place in the "area of Khost", which is in Afghanistan. He would not confirm if it was the same strike.
However, a Resolute Support spokesperson said that US forces had not conducted any strikes in Khost in the time frame. Meanwhile, US Central Command, the American military command responsible for the region, denied conducting the strike, while the CIA declined to comment.
The last strike in Pakistan took place in May 21 last year, killing the leader of the Afghan Taliban.
Additional information and context on the latest strike can be found here.
- Type of strike: Possible US drone strike
- Location: Kurram Agency
- References: AFP, Reuters, GEO News, US Central Command via email, CIA via email, Resolute Support via email, AP, The News, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism