Coming Soon: Official Death Toll of US Drone Strikes
But it won't cover those in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2016 9:55 AM CST
Lisa Monaco speaks in Stanford, Calif.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
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(Newser) – The White House has for the first time promised to release the death toll of civilian and non-civilian casualties from US drone strikes going back to 2009, reports the Guardian. Or at least some drone strikes: The disclosure won't cover those in areas of "active hostilities" such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. Instead, it will include those in places such as Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen. President Obama's counterterrorism adviser, Lisa Monaco, told the Council on Foreign Relations on Monday that a tally of alleged terrorists and civilians killed in such strikes since 2009 would be made available in the "coming weeks." She added that the "figures will be provided annually," per Politico, though it remains to be seen if the next president will support the move.

Monaco said the disclosure may include tallies compiled by non-government groups; one such tally released in 2014 found that the US killed 1,147 people in Pakistan and Yemen while targeting 41 known men. But "it's not enough to tally up the drones' body count. We need a thorough reassessment of the program itself," says an attorney for drone strike victims. On Friday, a Justice Department official agreed to release "a much more detailed explanation of the standards and procedures employed in both capture and lethal targeting counter-terrorism operations," in response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. (The news comes just days after US strikes killed 150 suspected militants in Somalia.)