Washington: At least 132 civilians were killed in US military operations in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, according to a Pentagon report.
The report released Wednesday, added that 91 civilians were injured in the operations, most of them aerial.
Most of the deaths – 108 – occurred in Afghanistan in the context of attacks against the Al Qaeda, the Islamic State (IS) and the Taliban militant groups.
The US’ efforts in 2019 “focused initially on aggressively targeting the Taliban to drive the group to participate in negotiations to end the Afghan war”, the report said.
“The level of violence increased as the year proceeded, as the Taliban conducted attacks in an attempt to increase its negotiating leverage during peace talks,” it added.
After Afghanistan, Syria was the country with the most civilians killed (21) and wounded (11) by US forces, in the framework of the war against the IS.
In the same framework, but in Iraq, one civilian died and two were wounded.
All of these operations occurred between January and March 2019, when the US and its allies gained control of the territory that had been in the hands of IS during its proclaimed caliphate.
In Somalia, two civilians were killed and three wounded during US operations against the jihadi group Al-Shabab and the IS.
The Pentagon detailed that throughout 2019 it carried out 63 airstrikes in Somalia in support of local forces to prevent these groups from taking control of areas not under state control.
Finally, the Pentagon said that in its operations in Libya against the IS and in Yemen against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the IS, there were no civilian casualties.
“All DoD operations in 2019 were conducted in accordance with law of war requirements, including law of war protections for civilians, such as the fundamental principles of distinction and proportionality, and the requirement to take feasible precautions in planning and conducting attacks to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and other persons and objects protected from being made the object of an attack,” the report said.
US government figures of civilian casualties are often criticized by watchdogs as being significantly underreported.
UK-based watchdog, Airwars, estimates that US-led military operations in Iraq and Syria in the first half of 2019 alone killed between 416 and 1,030 civilians.