US military describes fatalities from targeted strikes as “enemy killed in action,” even if their identity is unknown
President Barack Obama’s administration has underrepresented the true number of civilians killed in drone strikes, a news site said in citing a cache of secret files it published.
On Thursday, the news site The Intercept unveiled documents leaked by a whistleblower about America’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles to kill terrorist targets in the Middle East and Central Asia.
Since taking office in 2009 Obama has vastly expanded the drone program, authorizing many more strikes than his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.
In classified slides, the US military describes fatalities from targeted strikes as “enemy killed in action,” even if their identity is unknown or they were not the intended targets, according to The Intercept.
And the attacks often kill many more people than intended, which runs counter to White House and Pentagon assertions that the strikes are precise and result in minimal casualties.
Documents detailing a mission called ‘Operation Haymaker’ showed that US special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people in northeastern Afghanistan from January 2012 to February 2013. But only 35 of those casualties were intended targets, The Intercept said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2015.