Socialist Worker

Over 450 US airstrikes go unrecorded in 2016 in Afghanistan

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2540

An Apache helicopter—along with drones attacks from these war machines were not recorded

An Apache helicopter—along with drones attacks from these war machines were not recorded (Pic: The US army/flikr)

An investigation by US armed forces magazine Military Times has suggested that all the claims made about the number of bombing raids are incomplete. Many airstrikes went unrecorded.

In particular it said US forces kill far more people than previously reported and that the figures may have been incomplete since the beginning of the “war on terror” in 2001.

For example, figures are not collected from raids by AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.

US armed forces carried out 456 bombing raids in Afghanistan in 2016 which were never recorded.

Recorded coalition airstrikes in Afghanistan came to 615, bringing the total to 1,071.


That means that 42 percent of total airstrikes in Afghanistan went unreported.

There were 11,825 recorded coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria in 2016. If the same ratio is true in these countries, over 20,000 total airstrikes could have been carried out in them in 2016.

That means hundreds of thousands of attacks could have gone unrecorded—and thousands of deaths.

The magazine—which is wholly committed to supporting the US forces—says that if these figures are true “it would fundamentally undermine confidence in much of what the Pentagon has disclosed about its prosecution of these wars, prompt critics to call into question whether the military sought to mislead the American public, and cast doubt on the competency with which other vital data collection is being performed and publicised.

“Those other key metrics include American combat casualties, taxpayer expense and the military’s overall progress in degrading enemy capabilities.”

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