Washington : In accordance with the White House, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) has released a report declaring the number of combatant and non-combatant deaths resulting from U.S. led strikes against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities.
The report, which was released yesterday, claimed that US drones killed only 64 to 116 civilians in 473 strikes launched between January 20, 2009 and December 31, 2015 in areas outside active hostilities which include Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia.
‘Areas of active hostilities’ currently include Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
The report added that drone strikes also killed 2,372 to 2,581 combatants during the said period.
The information provided to the DNI is the result of processes that include reviews of all strikes after they are conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of operations.
U.S. President Barack Obama also gave an Executive Order to release aggregate data of combatant and non-combatant deaths resulting from strikes and the United States policy on pre- and post-strike measures to address civilian casualties.
President Obama said, “All armed conflict invites tragedy. But by narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us and not the people they hide among, we are choosing the course of action least likely to result in the loss of innocent life.”
The report however acknowledged that there are differences in statistics between the U.S. Government assessments and the reporting from non-governmental organizations citing that for the period between January 20, 2009 and December 31, 2015, non-governmental organizations’ estimates range to more than 900 possible non-combatant deaths outside areas of active hostilities.
Commenting on the report, the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism said civilians have always been at greater risk from the U.S. airstrikes, adding that a 2014 study by legal charity ‘Reprieve’ suggested that US drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan had killed as many as 1,147 unknown people in failed attempts to kill 41 named targets.
The Bureau also accused the CIA of double standards. In an effort to lower civilian deaths in Afghanistan, international airstrikes on buildings and urban locations were mostly banned from 2008. Yet in Pakistan, more than 60 percent of CIA strikes have targeted domestic buildings (or “militant compounds”). (ANI)