The US military admits to killing 23 civilians abroad in 2020
Defence Redefined
Published on 03/06/2021 at 08:24

The US military admitted responsibility for the deaths of 23 civilians in 2020, most of them in its operations in Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon’s report released yesterday. This number, however, is far smaller than the estimates of various NGOs.

“The Department of Defence estimates that 23 civilians were killed and another 10 wounded in 2020 in US military operations,” said the annual report submitted to Congress since 2018, part of which is classified as top secret.

Most of the victims were killed in Afghanistan, where the US Pentagon has acknowledged responsibility for twenty deaths, according to the public section of the report. One civilian was killed in Somalia in February 2020 and another in Iraq in March. The section of the report that was made public does not specify where or when the 23rd victim was killed.

The Pentagon also revised its 2017 and 2019 tolls, admitting additional 65 deaths and 22 injuries, mainly in Syria and Yemen.

The report also notes that although Congress provided a $ 3 million budget for the Pentagon to provide compensation – called ‘ex gratia’ in the report – to the families of civilians killed in US military operations, no such compensation has been given.

NGOs regularly publish much heavier tolls of US operations, mostly airstrikes, in war theaters.

The NGO Airwars, which records civilian casualties in airstrikes around the world, says the most conservative estimates show that 102 civilians were killed in US operations worldwide in 2020 – almost five times as many as the Pentagon admits.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has counted 89 dead and 31 wounded in US-led coalition operations, Airwars explains. In Somalia, where the Pentagon admits only one civilian death, Airwars and other NGOs estimate that at least seven people were killed, while in Syria and Iraq local sources put the death toll at at least six, it added.

To the strong American human rights organization ACLU, “the reports of the Department of Defence and the recognition of its responsibility for the deaths of civilians continue to be terribly inadequate.”

“It is astonishing that in 2020 the Department of Defence did not propose or grant any compensation to the families of civilians affected despite the availability of funds from Congress,” said ACLU chief executive China Samsi.

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Source: ANA MPA






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