The events detailed here have been reported by US or Pakistani government, military and intelligence officials, and by credible media, academic and other sources in 2013. For our 2012 Pakistan drone strike database click here, for 2011 here and for the 2010 data click here. A database incorporating all 2009 drone strikes in Pakistan after President Obama’s inauguration is here. For the database encompassing the President Bush strikes, from 2004 to 2009, click here.
Ob305 – January 2 2013
♦ 6-11 reported killed
♦ Unknown injured
In one of their most significant strikes in recent years, CIA drones killed Maulvi Nazir, the powerful leader of a so-called ‘good Taliban’ faction, in a late evening attack on a vehicle near Wana in South Waziristan. Also reported killed were Nazir’s deputies Atta Ullah and Rafey Khan and up to nine others, possibly including local commander Rata Khan. According to the New York Times, Nazir’s vehicle was struck as it traveled on the Birmal-Wana road. A senior Pakistani intelligence official told the paper: ‘He has been killed. It is confirmed. The vehicle he was traveling in was hit.’ However other sources including the Guardian said that Nazir died when a house was struck during a meeting of senior leaders. Wana mosques announced the death of the popular leader over loudspeakers, and as many as 10,000 people reportedly attended Nazir’s funeral the next day, local sources told AP.
Maulvi Nazir was long a target of the United States, and almost all recent drone strikes in South Waziristan have been aimed at his forces. Whilst Nazir maintained peaceful relations with Islamabad (leading to the ‘good Taliban’ label) he had used Waziristan as a base to launch attacks on US, Nato and Afghan forces across the border for many years. While a tactical success for the CIA, some analysts predicted that Nazir’s death might increase instability and violence in the region, at least initially.
AFP reported that senior Pakistani security officials were locked in talks to discuss the implications of Nazir’s death. One told the agency: ‘There will be a setback in a way. He was one of those who were keeping his area under effective control and preventing the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan [TTP] from operating there. So it will make a difference.’
On the same day as Nazir’s killing a US court rejected a Freedom of Information request by the New York Times and ACLU calling for the US government to reveal the legal basis of covert drone strikes. US District Court Judge Colleen McMahon said in a written statement that an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ situation presently exists in which the US can claim such strikes to be legal, while keeping secret the basis of such claims:
I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.
Location: Angor Adda, Wana, South Waziristan
Reference: Reuters, Associated Press, Al Arabiya, New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, RTT News, Wired, New York District Court (pdf), Sky News, PTI, Los Angeles Times, Voice of America,Frontier Post, Dawn, Guardian, BBC, The News, AFP, NBC News
Ob306 – January 3 2013
♦ 3-4 reported killed
♦ Unknown injured
A double missile strike on a vehicle near Mir Ali, North Waziristan, reportedly killed four people, among them reportedly Faisal Khan, a local leader of the Pakistan Taliban or TTP. Also killed with him, according to the Washington Post, were two ‘Uzbek militants.’
According to Associated Press, ‘one missile hit a vehicle near the town, followed by another missile when people rushed to the vehicle to help people in the car.’ CNN also reported that drones targeted rescuers. The deliberate targeting of first responders by the CIA is controversial, and is presently being investigated by UN experts as a possible war crime.
This story was originally published by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.