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An eight-year war

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.

More on drones:

Want to learn more about drone technology and warfare? We’ve compiled a reading list.

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


  • Proud Citizen

    What a terrific segment. Best yet on NTK

  • Anonymous

    Glad to hear Need to Know is doing something significant. I was annoyed and distressed when Now, Bill Moyers, and World Focus, (which had the only live coverage of Israel’s Gaza War, via Al Jazeera), were all purged from PBS on the same night.  Only Moyers’ departure was mentioned. With some anodyne comment that signified nothing, delivered by Gwen Eifell. I wish the media would cover themselves and be more transparent. Why, for example, did Bob Herbert and Frank Rich, the two best columnists at The Times disappear? Were they fired or did they resign? Why don’t I Have A Right to Know? Tell me on Need to Know. Similar to doctor’s covering each others backs, rather than caring for their patients.  I’m almost blind in one eye for misreading, or not seeing, non verbal messages other retinologists may have sent me before an operation they wouldn’t do.  

  • robin hensel

    Drone little.falls mn eleven am on friday sept 21 IN HONOR
    OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE.DAY. THE FIRST DRONE PROTEST.WAS HELD ON AUGUST 27,2012. In honor of the kellogg briand peace pact.that was signed on aug 27,1928 in paris france. Public welcome. Questions call 320-360-3931….coleen rowley former FBI WHISTLEBLOWER WILL SPEAK. POTLUCK FOLLOWING EVENT. little falls partners.for.peace…little.falls occupy….brainerd area coalition for peace….alexandria peaceline….grand rapids peace group… cloud alternatives for war…st cloud pax.christi…women against military madness mpls…veterans for peace mpls…womens international league.for peace.and freedom.mpls will.all be represented. Come join us and show your patriotism. Peace is PATRIOTIC. AND DISSENT IS PATRIOTIC. WAR IS A LIE!!!!!

  • Entrkn

    The Pakistanis in the tribal border areas want to have their cake and eat it too… they aid and abet terrorists in exchange for money… they sheild terrorists with their women and children… and then they get upset when some lose their lives in the process… they want the sanctuary they had and the money they are getting from the terrorists but those days are gone. Keep on hitting the terrorists with the drones… it is working.

  • ahp

    On the graphic, how are there more militants killed than total kills? Are some killed twice? Plus on stat says 37 strikes in 2012 and one says 34. If your stats aren’t clear why use them?

  • anonymous

    under neath it says 2-4: unknown…add it up