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US admits killing 12 civilians worldwide in 2021

According to a Pentagon report made public on Tuesday, the US military killed 12 civilians in 2021, all of whom were living in Afghanistan.

The report, which Congress has mandated be produced annually since 2018 and which contains some classified information, stated that the Department of Defense “assesses that there were approximately 12 civilians killed and approximately five civilians injured during 2021 as a result of US military operations.”

The public portion of the report states that Afghanistan is where all of the civilian casualties took place.

The disorderly US pullout from Afghanistan at the end of August 2021 resulted in the deaths of 10 members of the same family, including seven children, which the Pentagon has previously admitted responsibility for.

According to the public document, two civilians were killed in US airstrikes: one on January 8 in Herat and one on August 11 in Kandahar. Also injured on January 18 in Kandahar were two civilians.

In addition, the US military acknowledged that a strike in Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on January 1 had left three civilians injured.

The Pentagon also updated its counts from 2018 to 2020, identifying 10 additional fatalities and 18 injuries, all in Syria.

NGOs frequently report substantially higher estimates of the number of people killed and injured by US strikes in war zones.

Between 15 and 27 people were reportedly killed in US operations in Syria alone, according to estimates made by the group Airwars, which keeps track of the civilian casualties of airstrikes throughout the globe.

In January 2022, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin urged the military to do more to avoid civilian casualties in airstrikes, after several deadly blunders that tarnished the reputation of the military.

Protecting civilians is a “strategic and moral imperative,” Austin noted in a memo to the military chain of command.

Neha Ayub
Written By

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