US Military Says it Killed 23 Civilians in 2020, But NGOs Say the Number is Higher

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The US armed forces unintentionally killed as many as 23 civilians in foreign countries in 2020, as the US is still mired in a host of war zones around the world.

The shocking admission came in a Pentagon report on Tuesday. The US defense department said the figures were compiled by non-governmental agencies. Going by the new numbers it looks like the US military killed more civilian in 2020 than in previous years.

Most of the civilian killings and injuries took place in US military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria.

There were approximately 23 civilians killed and approximately 10 civilians injured during 2020 as a result of US military operations," the document released by US Department of Defense (DoD) said, according to Al Jazeera.

US Pentagon
US Pentagon YouTube grab

In Afghanistan alone there were 20 deaths, the Pentagon said in the report. While one civilian was killed in Somalia in February 2020 another was killed in Iraq in March. It is not clear from the document where the other person was killed.

In another intriguing element in the report, Pentagon says it has not any financial compensation to the families of civilian victims though Congress allocated $3 million for this purpose.

Toll Higher?

The Al Jazeera report, however, notes that reports put together by NGOs usually have higher civilian death tolls.

According to NGO Airwars, some 102 civilians may have been killed in US operations abroad. This NGO lists civilian victims of air attacks.

U.S. Military
US Military

According to the United Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), there may have been 89 civilian casualties in operations by the US military in 2020.

In Somalia, at least seven people may have been killed though the Pentagon recognizes only one civilian death.

"It is clear that the Defense Department's investigations and acknowledgment of civilian harm remain woefully inadequate," Hina Shamsi with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said.

This article was first published on June 3, 2021