Mountains and a Chinook around Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan
World

Military Action Abroad In 2018 Resulted In 120 Civilian Deaths, Pentagon Says

Amnesty International disputes report on the number of civilians killed last year as a result of US military action.

Mountains and a Chinook around Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan

Around 120 civilians were killed and 65 others injured in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia last year as a result of US military action, according to a Pentagon report.

It said 76 civilians were killed during operations in Afghanistan in 2018, with 42 killed in total in Iraq and Syria. Two civilians were killed during a strike in Somalia.

The Pentagon assessed that no civilians were killed in Libya or Yemen.

Compared to 2017, when nearly 800 civilians were killed, the number of deaths has decreased, in part because the pace of operations had slowed against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

However, the civilian casualties in the latest report are lower than those being reported by watchdog groups.

Amnesty International and the monitoring group Airwars, in a report published late in April, said the US-backed assault to drive Islamic State militants from the Syrian capital Raqqa in 2017 killed more than 1,600 civilians.

The U.S. report says 76 civilians were killed during operations in Afghanistan in 2018

In February, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said 1,185 civilians were killed during operations conducted by pro-government forces in 2018.

The Pentagon report said there was a difference in civilian casualty assessments between the US military and UNAMA because of different methodologies.

Commander Candice Tresch, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said this was the first year the full report was unclassified.

“Although civilian casualties are a tragic and unavoidable part of war, no force in history is more committed to limiting harm to civilians than the US military, which routinely applies standards that are more protective of civilians than required by the Law of Armed Conflict,” Tresch said, according to Reuters.

Amnesty International responded to the report on Twitter, and posted a statement on its website.

Daphne Eviatar, the Director of Security With Human Rights at Amnesty International USA, said:

“The latest report is a welcome step for accountability for civilian casualties as a result of US operations, but many more are required, to both acknowledge the full scale of the damage and for the survivors still struggling with the aftermath.

“The Department of Defense unfortunately still significantly undercounts civilian casualties caused by US-led operations, as demonstrated by our recent, detailed reporting on civilian casualties in Somalia and in Syria.”