At Least 636 US Drone Strikes
Since November 3, 2002
Reports suggest that less than 2% of all drone casualties are "militant leaders." The vast majority of drone kills are not militants at all, but the CIA considers "all military-age males in a strike zone" to be "combatants... unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent." That begs the question, how does one go about collecting posthumous intelligence from bodies that are typically unidentifiable after drone strikes?
From 2004-2007, the Pakistani government under President Musharraf tried to hide the fact that US strikes were being carried out in the country. The explosions were claimed to be car bombs, Pakistani military operations, or "accidents." In 2006, a Pakistani official claimed that their own military had conducted a strike against a religious school in Bajaur which killed over 80, at least 69 of which were children. One Pakistani government aide reportedly stated that they believed it would be "less damaging" to claim it had carried out the strike, rather than acknowledging having allowed US strikes in Pakistan.