The Bureau has obtained a secret Pakistani document showing the assessment by local officials of over 330 CIA drone strikes dating back as far as 2006.
Officials in the FATA Secretariat, which oversees the tribal areas, compile the document using information obtained from local sources by field agents. Each day the local Political Agent, the ranking officer in the field, submits a Daily Situation Report to the FATA Secretariat, listing any violent incidents in the area that day. The document published here is compiled from those reports.
The Bureau previously obtained and published a section of the same document showing strikes from 2006 to late 2009. The new version includes strikes dating up to the end of September 2013.
Although in some respects the document is detailed – showing the exact times and locations of strikes, for example – it also has striking omissions: none of 2007′s five strikes are shown, and the report almost never notes the names or alleged militant affiliations of the dead. Most strikingly, almost all civilian casualties after the start of 2009 are missing, even in incidents where the Pakistani government has acknowledged civilian deaths.
The overall casualties recorded by the document are broadly similar to those compiled by the Bureau, which uses sources including media reports, sworn affidavits and field investigations. The Bureau estimates that at least 2,371 people died in the time covered by the document (excluding 2007, which is missing from the record), while it records 2,217 deaths in total.
In the latest episode of the Bureau’s podcast Drone News, Alice Ross who obtained this document on a trip to Pakistan talks more about what it reveals.