The U.S. military acknowledges responsibility for the deaths of 12 civilians in 2021, all in Afghanistan, according to a Pentagon report released Tuesday, September 27.
"The Department of Defense estimates that 12 civilians were killed and 5 others injured in 2021 in American military operations"
, indicates this annual report required by Congress since 2018, part of which remains secret-defense.
All of the civilian casualties were killed in Afghanistan, according to the public part of the report.
The Pentagon has already admitted responsibility for the deaths of 10 family members, including seven children, during the chaotic US withdrawal operations at the end of August 2021 in Kabul.
The public document specifies that a civilian was killed in a US strike on January 8, 2021 in Herat, and another on August 11 in Kandahar.
Two civilians were also injured on January 18 in Kandahar.
In addition, the US military admits having injured three civilians on January 1, 2021 in a strike in Qunyo Barrow, Somalia.
In addition, the Pentagon has reassessed its counts from the years 2018 to 2020, to recognize 10 more dead and 18 injured, all in Syria.
A “strategic and moral imperative”
NGOs regularly publish much higher assessments of American strikes in theaters of war.
The organization Airwars, which lists the civilian victims of aerial bombardments in the world, estimated in its annual report published in May between 15 and 27 the number of civilians killed in American operations in Syria alone.
In January 2022, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin urged the military to do more to avoid civilian casualties in airstrikes, after several deadly blunders that tarnished the reputation of the US military.
Protecting civilians is a
“strategic and moral imperative
,” Lloyd Austin noted in a memo to the military chain of command.