Washington | Up to 116 civilians and as many as 2,581 combatants were killed in US counterterror strikes outside Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria from 2009 to 2015, US intelligence officials announced today.
The Director of National Intelligence provided fatality estimates for 473 strikes between January 1, 2009 and the end of 2015 against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities, in a much-anticipated report into American plane and drone strikes.
It is the first time the administration of President Barack Obama has published a toll from its secret strikes outside of active war zones, and the release comes after rights groups and the media for years demanded a better accounting of such military actions under Obama.
Critics have long said US drone strikes kill far more civilians than the administration claims, and today’s release is unlikely to change that narrative. The figures released today should be considered in light of the inherent limitations on the ability to determine the precise number of combatant and non-combatant deaths given the non-permissive environments in which these strikes often occur, the DNI said in a statement.
The White House meanwhile released an executive order that provides additional information on best practices and procedures that can be applied to strikes, regardless of where they are conducted.
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