US to release drone death toll; air strike kills 150 in Somalia

In Pakistan alone, at least 1927 people have been killed by drones since 2009, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journali

The U.S. government will release a count of how many people it has killed in "counterterrorism" strikes since 2009, the Obama administration announced on March 7. Meanwhile, US air strikes killed 150 people in Somalia, in an attackt he US said was targetted at the al-Shabab terrorist group, an affiliate of al-Qaida.

The US government has said it will release a count of how many people it has killed in "counterterrorism" strikes since 2009. Since taking office, President Barack Obama has dramatically escalated the US's reliance on unmanned drones, launching deadly strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

In Pakistan alone, at least 1927 people have been killed by drones since 2009, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, with at least 249 of the dead civilians.

The US count of the dead will be released "in the coming weeks," said Lisa Monaco, Obama's counterterrorism and homeland security adviser, during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC.

According to the Associated Press, the count "isn't expected to detail the specific countries where people died, instead offering an aggregate assessment".

Human rights groups have long demanded greater transparency with respect to the US's covert air wars.

"This is a step in the right direction, but doesn't go nearly far enough," said Cori Crider, an attorney for drone victims with the human rights group Reprieve.

"In every region where we have pursued an aggressive, secret drone policy, militancy has gotten stronger. It's not enough to tally up the drones' dead body count — we need a thorough reassessment of the program itself."

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]

Like the article? Subscribe to Green Left now! You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.