Follow us on social

New report: Post-9/11 US airstrikes killed upwards of 48,000 civilians

New report: Post-9/11 US airstrikes killed upwards of 48,000 civilians

The findings come as a separate study estimates the US has so far spent $8 trillion.

Reporting | Asia-Pacific

A new study released on Monday found that U.S. airstrikes during the two-decade-long post-9/11 wars have killed at least 22,679 civilians in seven countries throughout the greater Middle East. 

According to Airwars, which tracks civilian casualties in conflict zones, the United States declared that it had conducted at least 91,340 strikes in those seven countries — Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen — and that as many as 48,308 civilians were killed as a result. 

Airwars explains the difference in estimates as follows: "The gap between these two figures reflects the many unknowns when it comes to civilian harm in war. Belligerents rarely track the effects of their own actions – and even then do so poorly. It is left to local communities, civil society and international agencies to count the costs. Multiple sources can however suggest different numbers of fatalities, meaning that monitoring organisations like Airwars will record both minimum and maximum estimates."

The group also says that it “has examined only direct harm from U.S. strikes since 9/11 — with many of our sources providing conservative casualty estimates. We are therefore looking at a fraction of the overall civilian harm in these countries.”


The Airwars estimate comes on the heels of a new report from Brown University’s Costs of War Project which found that between 897,000 and 929,000 had been “directly killed” in the post-9/11 wars, and that around 365,000 of those were civilians. The Project estimated that total costs so far at nearly $8,000,000,000,000.

“As part of our research,” Airwars says, “we also sought official U.S. military estimates for the numbers of civilians killed by its own actions since 9/11. Neither CENTCOM nor the Department of Defense have published such findings.”

A U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender refuels an F-35A Lightning II above an undisclosed location, April 30, 2019. The KC-10 and its crew were tasked to support aerial refueling operations for the F-35A's first air interdiction during its inaugural deployment to the U.S. Air Forces Central Command's area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chris Drzazgowski)|
Reporting | Asia-Pacific
Ukraine-Poland row exposes history, limits of devotion
Credit: Polish President Andrzej Duda (Shutterstock/BikerBarakuss) and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky (Shutterstock/Oleksandr Osipov)

Ukraine-Poland row exposes history, limits of devotion


The vitriolic dispute between Poland and Ukraine brings out some aspects of the West’s approach to the war in Ukraine that the Ukrainian government would do well to study carefully.

The dispute originated in charges by Poland and other central European governments that Ukraine’s greatly increased grain exports to Europe — a consequence of the Russian closure of the Black Sea to Ukrainian maritime trade — were flooding European markets and depressing prices for Polish and other farmers.

keep readingShow less
Rep. Gerry Connolly

Rep. Gerry Connolly, screengrab via

How members of Congress can take on Iran hawks

Middle East

During a recent House hearing on “Iran’s escalating threats,” a Democratic lawmaker completely dismantled all the myths opponents of diplomacy peddle about Iran and its nuclear program.

The hearing was dominated by hawkish voices on Iran, who urged for increasing pressure and spurned any diplomatic engagement. The only exception was Suzanne Maloney from the Brookings Institute, who took a more moderate stance.

keep readingShow less
Brazil is showing us how to avoid a new cold war

President Joe Biden and Brazilian President Lula. photo: White House

Brazil is showing us how to avoid a new cold war

Latin America

When the BRICS grouping held its annual summit in late August, it was widely covered as a portentous affair that signaled a ripening challenge to the U.S.-led global order.

For the first time, the group expanded considerably, reflecting a growing ambition not necessarily shared by each original member. It was reasonable to wonder whether a robust challenge to U.S. hegemony was imminent.

keep readingShow less

Ukraine War Crisis