ISLAMABD - How is the number of people killed in US drone attacks in tribal areas is determined within a few minutes? In a region where the media persons have just no access, who tells that the victims of the attacks were militants? Why the number of the injured has never been mentioned? Efforts made by this reporter to find answers to these important questions revealed that there is no mechanism to confirm the number of deaths or the victims links to militants, and the information provided to media by various quarters is mostly 'fictitious. Background interviews indicate that it is the US, or the attacker, and local tribesmen who are the source of the information that the television channels and newspapers use without having any means to verify. Sources say the US has the data about only the high-value targets and that account is based on the electronic profiles of the individuals. The US account of the casualties is not always credible, the sources said, adding there have been incidents when what the US claimed proved incorrect. They cited the recent example of the killing of Ilyas Kashmiri, when the US first confirmed the death and after few days backed out of its earlier position. The sources were of the view that the US uses electronic data to confirm death of any high-value target hit through the drones, and that is authenticated with the help of its database consisting of the profile of that individual. The second credible mechanism to verify number of casualties as a result of a US drone strike has been the sources in the local tribal community. But this too is not an easy means of dissemination of information; therefore, the casualties figures released mostly by the western media are based on speculation. The information that comes from tribesmen is not always instantly available and in most of the cases it takes three to four days, former FATA Chief Secretary Brig (r) Mehmood Shah told TheNation. He confirmed that there was no independent mechanism through which exact number of casualties occurred as a result of a drone hit could be determined instantly. Brigadier Shah was of the view that the US version of casualties always entails the high-value targets that are successfully hit and killed, and not of those killed or injured otherwise. The local tribesmen are the only source of confirming details of casualties other than those claimed by the US sources, he added. Amazingly, there has been no account of those injured in the drone strikes as neither media had ever released any figure nor there is any independent database available in this regard. It is very difficult to make an assessment of the life losses suffered by terrorists subjected to the US drone hits or losses incurred to the local tribesmen, the sources maintained. They believed that such losses could be calculated once the US stops drone strikes. There have been 248 drone operations since 2004 while the deaths have been reported between 1,542 and 2,431. Defence and security experts do not agree to these figures of causalities.