US Drone Strikes, Securitization Processes and Practices - A Case Study of Pakistan

Alamgir Khan, Christian Kaunert*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article explores the importance of inter-related securitisation processes on each other, most notably the impact of securitisation practices in one country on the securitisation processes in another. It analyses the impact of US drone strikes on the securitisation processes related to the militancy conducted by successive Pakistani governments in the aftermath of 9/11. The successful securitisation of the war on terror by the US allowed the latter to take extraordinary measures to eliminate terrorism, most notably through the use of drone strikes. However, these securitisation practices inhibited the securitisation of militancy inside Pakistan. While we understand successful securitisation processes, we understand much less about unsuccessful securitisation cases. This article analyses the use of drone strikes as securitisation practices by the US and their impact on the unsuccessful securitisation process of militancy in Pakistan after 9/11. The empirical contribution of this article is its focus on the case of Pakistan where more than 400 drone strikes took place, reportedly killing approximately 7000 people. The article demonstrates how the drone strikes in Pakistan turned the war on terror into an American war and made it difficult for the domestic audience in Pakistan to accept the securitisation moves of the security actors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2179571
Pages (from-to)287-304
Number of pages18
JournalCritical Studies on Terrorism
Issue number2
Early online date2 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2023


  • securitization
  • Drones
  • Pakistan
  • terrorism
  • radicalization


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