Nick Hopkins, defence and security correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Monday 18 June 2012 13.00 BST
The British military is increasingly relying on unmanned drones to wage war against the Taliban, and has fired more than 280 laser-guided Hellfire missiles and bombs at suspected insurgents, new figures reveal.
In the last year alone, the remotely controlled Reaper aircraft have flown more than 11,000 hours over southern Afghanistan and attacked targets with 105 high-impact precision weapons.
But the use of the drones, which are flown by RAF pilots from a US air force base in Nevada, is raising fresh concerns among human rights lawyers and MPs.
The Ministry of Defence says only four Afghan civilians have been killed in its drone strikes since 2008. However, it also says it has no idea how many insurgents have died, because of the "immense difficulty and risks" of verifying who has been hit.