The events detailed here occurred in 2012. These have been reported by US or Pakistani government, military and intelligence officials, and by credible media, academic and other sources, including on occasion Bureau researchers. Below is a summary of CIA drone strikes and casualty estimates for 2012. Please note that our data changes according to our current understanding of particular strikes. Below represents our present best estimate.
CIA strikes – Obama 2012
|Total CIA drone strikes||50|
|Total reported killed:||212-410|
|Civilians reported killed:||13-63|
|Children reported killed:||1-2|
|Total reported injured:||100-212|
c. January 4th 2012
♦ 0 total killed
The first hoped-for US strike of 2012 did not happen, according to the Washington Post, following a veto by Pakistan, with the two countries still locked in negotiations over new terms for CIA drone attacks:
In a rare display of deference early this month, the CIA informed the Pakistani government that it planned a drone strike against a terrorist target in the North Waziristan tribal region and asked Islamabad’s permission. When Pakistan declined, the strike was canceled, officials said.
Ob256 – January 10 2012
♦ 1-4 total killed
♦ 2 injured (woman and child)
The longest pause of the Obama drone war in Pakistan (55 days) came to an abrupt end when in a late evening attack two missiles destroyed a mudbrick house just outside Miranshah. Up to four alleged militants were reported killed, with Reuters initially citing Pakistani officials as saying the victims were ‘foreign fighters of Arab and possibly also Uzbek extraction‘. Qasim Noor, a student who witnessed the attack, told Associated Press: ‘It was an unusually big bang. Since it was extremely cold I didn’t leave the house, but could see a house on fire. In the morning, we saw a modest mud house had been destroyed‘. Ten days after the strike Reuters reported that the attack killed Aslam Awan, 25, (aka Abdullah Khorasani), who it described as a Pakistan-born senior external operations operative for al Qaeda. Pakistan’s The News reported that a Saudi national may also have died. According to a local tribesman:
A guest from the holy land (Saudi Arabia) living in a ramshackle house was killed on the spot but his wife and a son staying in the same room survived’.
Awan moved in his late-20s to the UK on a student visa in 2002. He worked in a clothing store and joined a group of young militants in Manchester before returning to Pakistan, the New York Times reported. He sent a letter to a friend Abdul Rahman, 25, urging him and his friends to join him. He wrote: ‘We have to do this work even with our last drop of blood. Please do migrate and encourage others to migrate too. Please invite everybody towards this cause.’ A US official said Awan was ‘a senior al Qaeda external operations planner who was working on attacks against the West’. He added: ‘His death reduces al Qaeda’s thinning bench of another operative devoted to plotting the death of innocent civilians.’
The attack led to a number of protests in Pakistan. On February 22 Reuters reported that US Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all spoke with senior Pakistani officials just prior to the attack to let them know the campaign would be resuming. The News later claimed that according to its sources in the security establishment this strike – and one on February 9 2012 – ‘was carried out on a tip off provided by the Pakistani intelligence community’. A Pakistani security source told Reuters they were joint operations. This strike ‘ made use of Pakistani “spotters” on the ground’, the agency reported.
Ob257 – January 12 2012
♦ 5-9 total killed
♦ 2-3 injured
Up to nine militants, mostly Turkmeni, were killed in a US strike on two vehicles in Dogga, 18 miles west of Miranshah. Reuters reported a Pakistani intelligence source as saying: ”The missiles hit two cars that were heading towards the border. Several foreigners were in the cars, but we have no information on their nationalities yet.’ The News reported those killed.
Reports for a while claimed that Pakistan Taliban (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud may have been killed in the attack, based on radio intercepts. The TTP denied the claim. This and the previous strike were joint US-Pakistani operations, Reuters reported. Pakistani operatives coordinated the strike from the ground, despite the tense relations between the two allies. ‘Our working relationship is a bit different from our political relationship,’ the agency’s anonymous source remarked. He said ‘Al Qaeda is our top priority’, and said cooperation with the UK intelligence services was extensive. He outlined how cooperation between the US and Pakistan worked
Other sources stated either that one wife was killed, one wife and one child, or that one or both wives were injured in the attack, ‘possibly the wife and daughter of Mansoor’. An unverified al Qaeda press release announced Mansoor’s ‘martyrdom’ and claimed Mansoor’s wife or possibly his sister-in-law was wounded; it did not mention further casualties. Badar Mansoor (aka Fakher Zaman) took over the local leadership of al Qaeda after the death in a drone strike of Ilyas Kashmiri in summer 2011; according to analysts he was responsible for recruiting militants to al Qaeda from within Pakistan. AFP reported Pakistani intelligence officials as saying ‘Mansoor was responsible for attacks in Karachi and on the minority Ahmadi community that killed nearly 100 people in the eastern city of Lahore in May 2010.’ Officials told Reuters that ‘the death toll could rise because of damage to buildings next to the one targeted by the drone.’ Three policemen were murdered in Peshawar on February 24 by militants calling themselves the Sheikh Abdullah Azaam Brigade. Six other officers were wounded in the triple suicide bombing of a police station, which the Brigade said ‘was to avenge the killing of Badr Munir in a drone attack. The group warned that there would be more such attacks,’ according to The Nation. On March 8 al Qaeda’s media wing released a nine-minute eulogy for Mansoor, claiming:
America is now more eagerly attacking the Pakistani government’s targets. The drone program is being run with the full consent, permission and cooperation of the Pakistani government.
The News later claimed that according to its sources in the security establishment this strike – and one on January 10 2012 – ‘was carried out on a tip off provided by the Pakistani intelligence community.’
In the second drone strike of the day up to 15 alleged militants died in an attack on a pick-up truck in Mir Ali. A number of reports referred to the dead as ‘Uzbek Islamists’. In January 2014, German media reported a German national died in the strike with alleged Uzbek militants. Patrick K, a 27-year-old from Hesse in western Germany, died in the attack according to a joint report by newspaper Sud-Deutsche Zeitung and broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk. The German domestic security service had reportedly tried to recruit Patrick K as an informant before he left the country, moving to Pakistan with his Pakistani wife.
An internal assessment of drone strikes, published by the Bureau in January 2014, listed eight people killed in this attack. Contradictorily, the entry in the document listed eight dead in this strike, describing them as ‘locals’ – meaning from the Pakistani tribal agencies. However the document also said: ‘Unconfirmed reports suggest that most of the killed were foreign nationals.’
According to a Pakistani security official ‘the vehicle caught fire and the dead bodies are badly mutilated.’ Four drones were reported to take taken part, according to villagers. One told The News: ‘No one could risk his life to get close to the destroyed vehicle and retrieve bodies of the slain people due to fear of the drones which were still flying over the area even after the attack.’
The article was published at Obama 2012 Pakistan strikes.