U.S. Military Killed Nearly 500 Civilians in 2017, Pentagon Says

2018/06/1527923694.jpg
Read: 7944     11:50     02 June 2018    

By Jessica Donati

The Pentagon said U.S. military operations in six countries killed almost 500 civilians in 2017, in an annual report that was released to the public for the first time on Friday.

 


The figures accounted for casualties in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. The Pentagon said it hadn’t received any credible reports of civilian casualties in the remaining two countries, Libya and Somalia.

The Pentagon said about 499 civilians were killed and about 169 civilians injured, without providing a breakdown of deaths and injuries per country or further details about the victims.

It also said it had yet to assess 450 civilian-casualty reports in Iraq and Syria, due to limited resources, indicating the final tally could be higher.

It was the first time the Pentagon released figures for civilian casualties caused by U.S. military ground and air operations around the world in response to a new requirement by Congress for 2018.


“We want to be as transparent as possible and show the rigorous process U.S. forces take to protect civilians,” U.S. military spokeswoman Maj. Audricia Harris said in an email.

The only comparable figures released by former President Barack Obama came in 2016, when he signed an executive order requiring the government to release figures for civilian casualties caused by U.S. airstrikes meant to target combatants in non-war zones. At the time, the White House said such operations killed 64 civilians between 2009 and 2015, a figure that was contested by nongovernmental organizations that track U.S. drone strikes.

Friday’s report said the military had credible reports of civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria. It said the more than 10,000 U.S. military operations against extremist groups in those two nations had helped local forces make “extraordinary” progress against Islamic State, liberating more than 4.5 million people from oppression.

The report also said it had found credible assessments of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, but it didn’t detail how many had been killed. The United Nations, which tracks casualties in the country, said the U.S. military killed or injured more than 200 civilians in 2017.

The U.S. military said the U.N. number was inflated and its own assessments that included “surveillance information” contradicted the data.

In Yemen, the Pentagon found credible reporting of civilian casualties while conducting operations against the local Islamic State and al Qaeda branches. The U.N. estimates more than 15,000 civilians have been killed or wounded since March 26, 2015.

The Pentagon said its military operations in Libya against Islamic State and in Somalia against Islamic State and al-Shabaab hadn’t resulted in any civilian casualties. However, news media last year reported some civilians were killed or injured during those operations.

Commenting on discrepancies between the Pentagon figures and other casualty estimates, the report said various factors accounted for the difference.

“In some cases, DoD has not been able to assess a report as credible because insufficient information has been provided or because investigators have not yet been able to review the report due to a large volume of reports,” it said.

Activist groups responding to the report called it a good first step but criticized the lack of detail.

“It provides only a total number of unidentified people killed in all those countries, without any additional detail,” said Hina Shamsi, of the American Civil Liberties Union. “The administration’s low death claims cannot be meaningfully tested and therefore cannot be trusted. Independent media and watchdog assessments make clear that the number of civilians killed overseas is many times higher.”

 

The Wall Street Journal



Tags: Pentagon   US   civilians  



News Line

U.S. Military Killed Nearly 500 Civilians in 2017, Pentagon Says

2018/06/1527923694.jpg
Read: 7945     11:50     02 June 2018    

By Jessica Donati

The Pentagon said U.S. military operations in six countries killed almost 500 civilians in 2017, in an annual report that was released to the public for the first time on Friday.

 


The figures accounted for casualties in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. The Pentagon said it hadn’t received any credible reports of civilian casualties in the remaining two countries, Libya and Somalia.

The Pentagon said about 499 civilians were killed and about 169 civilians injured, without providing a breakdown of deaths and injuries per country or further details about the victims.

It also said it had yet to assess 450 civilian-casualty reports in Iraq and Syria, due to limited resources, indicating the final tally could be higher.

It was the first time the Pentagon released figures for civilian casualties caused by U.S. military ground and air operations around the world in response to a new requirement by Congress for 2018.


“We want to be as transparent as possible and show the rigorous process U.S. forces take to protect civilians,” U.S. military spokeswoman Maj. Audricia Harris said in an email.

The only comparable figures released by former President Barack Obama came in 2016, when he signed an executive order requiring the government to release figures for civilian casualties caused by U.S. airstrikes meant to target combatants in non-war zones. At the time, the White House said such operations killed 64 civilians between 2009 and 2015, a figure that was contested by nongovernmental organizations that track U.S. drone strikes.

Friday’s report said the military had credible reports of civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria. It said the more than 10,000 U.S. military operations against extremist groups in those two nations had helped local forces make “extraordinary” progress against Islamic State, liberating more than 4.5 million people from oppression.

The report also said it had found credible assessments of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, but it didn’t detail how many had been killed. The United Nations, which tracks casualties in the country, said the U.S. military killed or injured more than 200 civilians in 2017.

The U.S. military said the U.N. number was inflated and its own assessments that included “surveillance information” contradicted the data.

In Yemen, the Pentagon found credible reporting of civilian casualties while conducting operations against the local Islamic State and al Qaeda branches. The U.N. estimates more than 15,000 civilians have been killed or wounded since March 26, 2015.

The Pentagon said its military operations in Libya against Islamic State and in Somalia against Islamic State and al-Shabaab hadn’t resulted in any civilian casualties. However, news media last year reported some civilians were killed or injured during those operations.

Commenting on discrepancies between the Pentagon figures and other casualty estimates, the report said various factors accounted for the difference.

“In some cases, DoD has not been able to assess a report as credible because insufficient information has been provided or because investigators have not yet been able to review the report due to a large volume of reports,” it said.

Activist groups responding to the report called it a good first step but criticized the lack of detail.

“It provides only a total number of unidentified people killed in all those countries, without any additional detail,” said Hina Shamsi, of the American Civil Liberties Union. “The administration’s low death claims cannot be meaningfully tested and therefore cannot be trusted. Independent media and watchdog assessments make clear that the number of civilians killed overseas is many times higher.”

 

The Wall Street Journal



Tags: Pentagon   US   civilians