The report details 12 total deaths from U.S. forces in “a declared theater of active armed conflict,” which the report defines as Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Syria. All of the deaths occurred in Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. “DOD does not assess other U.S. military operations in 2021 resulted in civilian casualties,” the report says, and only actions “attributed to the use of U.S.-operated weapons” are listed.
Included are the 10 deaths on Aug. 29 from the case of mistaken identity that killed a family during America’s rushed withdrawal from Kabul. In addition, approximately five civilians were injured by American forces in 2021, two in Afghanistan and three in a Jan. 1 airstrike in Qunyo Barrow, Somalia. Three cases of potential civilian casualty incidents in 2021 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria “continue to be under assessment,” according to the report, which Congress has mandated since 2018.
The report details 10 deaths and 18 injuries from American strikes that occurred in Syria from 2018 to 2020 that previous annual reports did not account for [Chris Gordon, “Pentagon Releases Report Detailing Civilian Casualties in 2021,” Air and Space Forces Magazine, 2022.09.27].
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has killed 5,996 civilians and injured 8,848, mostly in shelling, rocket attacks, and air strikes. Our support of Ukraine’s defense is not a United States military operation, so the Department of Defense will not be sifting through UN reports or Ukrainian rubble to figure out what fraction of those civilian deaths may have been caused by American munitions.