Research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an independent news organisation based at City University, London, has found that only 12% of victims of US drone strikes in Pakistan could be identified as militants.
In a report, released by the organisation on Thursday, researchers also found that fewer than 4% of those killed have been identified as members of al Qaeda.
The report said that out of the 2,379 known victims of drone strikes between June 2004 and October 2014, 704 have been identified. Only 295 of these were reported to be members of some kind of armed group.
The report alleges that of those there were "few corroborating details" to account for those who were solely listed as "militants". More than a third of them were not designated a rank within their militant organisation, and almost 30% were not even linked to a specific group.