US drone and airstrikes have killed at least 22,000 civilians – and perhaps as many as 48,000 – since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, according to new analysis published by the civilian harm monitoring group Airwars.
The analysis, based on the US military’s own assertion that it has conducted almost 100,000 airstrikes since 2001, represents an attempt to estimate the number of civilian deaths across the multiple conflicts that have comprised aspects of the “war on terror”.
The figures, released just ahead of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, come as the US president, Joe Biden, promised to end the “forever wars” that have marked the past two decades, and with the US withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
Since taking office Biden has reduced US reliance on airstrikes amid a formal review of US drone policy, and has withdrawn from many of the foreign interventions that marked the time in office of his three predecessors George W Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, since the 2001 attacks on the US by al-Qaida.
Encompassing attacks on Islamic State in Syria, the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as strikes against militant and terror groups in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Libya, the US has said it had conducted at least 91,340 strikes in 20 years – including 9,000 against the Islamic State, the Airwars report said.
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SOURCE: The Guardian, Peter Beaumont