Strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, have been the primary weapon used by the USA to combat the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This article examines the dynamics of violence involving drone strikes and the Taliban/Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan from 1 January 2007 to 30 September 2011. We find that drone strikes have a stronger impact on Taliban/Al-Qaeda violence in Pakistan than in Afghanistan and that these results are robust to examining different time periods and lag structures. We also examine the impact of successful and unsuccessful drone strikes (which did or did not succeed in targeted killing of a militant leader) on terrorist attacks by the Taliban. We find strong effects of unsuccessful drone strikes on Taliban violence in Pakistan, suggesting important vengeance and deterrent effects. (JEL codes: C32, D74).
- ECON Applied Economics