Predator and Reaper drones hang in the sky above Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. Mostly they observe, search for targets – and occasionally they unleash Hellfire missiles. Targets may be large gatherings of suspicious figures, convoys or training camps. They can also be private houses, and sometimes they turn out to be weddings. The theory behind strikes is not mass destruction, but to find militant leaders and kill them, as surgically as possible. But how effective have those efforts been? And who’s making the call on when to take a shot?
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