Accessibility links

Breaking News

White House To Report Death Tolls From Drones, Counterterrorism Strikes

RQ-4 Block 10 Global Hawk unmanned drones are seen at an undisclosed location, undated.
RQ-4 Block 10 Global Hawk unmanned drones are seen at an undisclosed location, undated.

The Obama administration says it is preparing to release a report on how many people have been killed by U.S. drones and counterterrorism strikes outside of active war zones since 2009.

The move announced by the White House on March 7 would lift one of the elements of secrecy that has shrouded the U.S. counterterrorism program for years.

Lisa Monaco, President Barack Obama's counterterrorism and homeland security adviser, said the disclosure will cover strikes in undeclared U.S. battlefields – such as Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia.

The tabulation will cover the years since Obama took office, but it won't cover the active war theaters of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

Monaco said the report would be published in the "coming weeks," but did not provide an exact date for the release.

U.S. lawmakers and human rights groups have pressed for more transparency about civilians killed by U.S. drones.

In related news, the Pentagon said on March 7 that it had launched a series of U.S. drone strikes against a training camp in Somalia for Al-Shabaab fighters, killing an estimated 150 militants in the terrorist group.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said the attack on the night of March 5 involved multiple drone aircraft that fired bombs and missiles at militants in the training camp, about 200 kilometers north of the capital, Mogadishu.

Davis said U.S. intelligence indicated the group was preparing for a "large-scale" attack and posed a threat to U.S. and African Union forces in Somalia.

Al-Shabaab, the Somalia-based branch of Al-Qaeda, has been accelerating an offensive of terrorist attacks in recent weeks aimed at disrupting elections later in 2016, undermining an international peacekeeping mission, and bringing down Somalia's Western-backed government.

Despite being forced out of Somalia's major urban areas, Al-Shabaab continues to carry out deadly terrorist attacks in East Africa.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and The Guardian