The United States government has made a series of attacks on targets in Pakistan since 2004 using drones (unmanned aerial vehicles). Under the George W. Bush administration, these controversial attacks were called a part of the US' "War on Terrorism" and sought to defeat the Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants who were thought to have found a safe haven in Pakistan. Most of these attacks are on targets in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Northwest Pakistan. These strikes are thought to be carried out by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) operated remotely by the Central Intelligence Agency and have continued under the Presidency of Barack Obama. Generally the UAVs used are MQ-1 Predator and more recently MQ-9 Reaper firing AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. The drones have become a weapon of choice for the United States in the fight against al-Qaeda. Some media refer to the series of attacks as a "drone war".
Barack Obama authorized the continuation of these strikes after he became US president. Top US officials consider these strikes very successful and believe that the senior al-Qaeda leadership has been decimated by these strikes. A list of the high-ranking victims of the drones was provided to Pakistan in 2009. Obama has broadened these attacks to include targets seeking to destabilize Pakistani civilian government and the attacks of February 14 and 16, 2009 were against training camps run by Baitullah Mehsud. On February 25, 2009 Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, has indicated the strikes will continue. On March 4, 2009 The Washington Times reported that the drones were targeting Baitullah Mehsud. Obama was reported in March 2009 as considering expanding these strikes to include Balochistan US officials stated in March 2009 that the Predator strikes had killed nine of al-Qaeda's 20 top commanders. The officials added that many top Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders, as a result of the strikes, had fled to...