Open access report on Drone Strikes in Afghanistan

ImageA new report published finds that despite Afghanistan being the most heavily drone-bombed country in the world, the reporting of air strikes is far less comprehensive than in other theatres.

Commissioned by Remote Control, a project hosted by Oxford Research Group, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s report Drones in Afghanistan: A scoping study assesses the feasibility of using open-source materials to track drone strikes in Afghanistan, modelled on its existing databases of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

The report found that drones are playing an increasingly important role in Afghan air campaigns in recent years (in 2011 drones fired 5% of all missiles fired in air strikes, by 2012 this had risen to 18%). It also found that an increased reliance on drones after the US drawdown this year is expected for counterterrorism operations in the country.  Drones now account for a third of all civilian deaths in Afghan air strikes but little is known about the details of these strikes.

The research concludes that media reports would not be sufficient as a primary source to develop a full record of drone strikes, but instead would require networks of local contacts to compile additional data, along with urging the military forces involved to release their own data. Despite these challenges, the report stressed the vital importance of developing a database of strikes in Afghanistan.

Read the report here.

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