Drones have been a part of President Obama’s war arsenal since his presidency began. The first drone strike under his administration took place in northwest Pakistan — just 72 hours after his inauguration. Since then there has been an estimated 300 drone strikes in Pakistan, according to The New America Foundation.
The majority of these drone attacks occur in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, where Al Qaeda and its affiliate militants often hide out in plain sight among civilians, often women and children.
Life in this region for civilians has long been difficult, between the war next door in Afghanistan and battles between the Pakistani military and militants. Moreover, there are few opportunities for economic advancement.
Drone strikes have added new elements to the already bleak environment: the flight of drones overhead, the fear of being targeted and the possibility of losing a loved one to a drone attack. Some Pakistani civilians, already traumatized by the conflict in the region, say they’re now terrorized by the United States-led war on terror.
Need to Know’s Hannah Yi traveled to Pakistan to investigate the impact that U.S. drone attacks are having on citizens in targeted areas. This report is a joint project between Need to Know and The International Center for Journalists, with funding by the Ford Foundation.
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Web video exclusive: Scraps and fragments left behind by drone missile strikes serve as evidence for Pakistani lawyer Shahzad Akbar, who represents families who have lost loved ones to drone attacks. Watch: Collecting evidence