American drones have struck Pakistan more than 400 times since 2004, and more than 300 of those strikes have been in North Waziristan, killing up to 4,000 people, among them militants from Al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and the Taliban. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, one of a handful of groups monitoring the drone strikes, estimates that that anywhere from 424 to 969 civilians have been killed.
Many expect drones to be Trump’s first tool in any stepped-up campaign against militants in Pakistan. This October, four strikes over 48 hours killed up to 37 along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, days after Pakistani forces rescued an American, Caitlan Coleman, along with her husband and two children, who had been held captive by the Taliban for five years in the tribal areas. Coleman, like several other Western hostages held by the Taliban, was kept for years in North Waziristan.