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Drones, Afghanistan and Beyond: Towards Analysis and Assessment in Context

Page, James; Williams, John

Drones, Afghanistan and Beyond: Towards Analysis and Assessment in Context Thumbnail


James Page


Afghanistan is one of the most drone-affected states, however, very few scholarly studies of drone use there exist. This article uses original fieldwork data in a strategically important area of Afghanistan, eastern Nangarhar province, to analyse drone effects in context. It raises important concerns about the ability of the US to attain stated counterterrorism and counterinsurgency goals. Our results show contextualised analysis of drone use necessitates appropriate enquiry into policy, doctrine, and local circumstances. It also reveals serious incoherence, inaccurate assumptions, and insufficient appreciation of local circumstances and dynamics not only in US policy and doctrine, but also numerous scholarly studies of drone use effectiveness. This has far-reaching policy, operational, and research implications, including regarding local communities’ governance, relations, and resilience to insurgent and terrorist encroachment. Therefore, we contribute to debates about how to analyse and assess drone use and its effects, why drone analysis needs to change, and what more effective forms of research and analysis can reveal.


Page, J., & Williams, J. (2022). Drones, Afghanistan and Beyond: Towards Analysis and Assessment in Context. European Journal of International Security, 7(3), 283-303.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 12, 2021
Online Publication Date Oct 1, 2021
Publication Date 2022-08
Deposit Date Jul 26, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jul 26, 2021
Journal European Journal of International Security
Print ISSN 2057-5637
Electronic ISSN 2057-5645
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 3
Pages 283-303


Accepted Journal Article (433 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the same Creative Commons licence is included and the original work is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use. <br /> <br /> Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the British International Studies Association

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