The use of drones to conduct lethal strikes by the United States against people associated with the Taliban and al Qaeda has been the subject of many recent publications. The Chairman of the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs recently identified, among others, three main questions on the use of armed drones: a. Who can be a legitimate target? b. Where can that person be legally targeted? c. Does it make a difference if the military carries out an attack, or whether other civilian government entities may legally conduct such attacks? The focus of this article is on the third question. However, the answer to any one of these questions might vary based on the answers to any other of the questions. While the discussion has tended to focus on US activities, and particularly those of the CIA in Pakistan and other regions (e.g., Yemen), the purpose of this article is to discuss the legal issues in a more general context.
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