The Pashtun tribesmen have several nicknames for the drones that endlessly circle over their mud-walled mountain villages. Some call them "wasps" or "mosquitoes", after the low buzz emitted by the pilotless aircraft's small engines.
But the most telling name is "bangana" – the Pashto word for a thunderclap – after the terrifying impact of a laser-guided Hellfire missile as it slams into a building, often obliterating everyone inside.
Since the CIA launched its first drone strike in Pakistan in June 2004, killing a young Taliban leader, such missile attacks have become an everyday event in North and South Waziristan, along the troubled Afghan border. More...