Pentagon Says Only 120 Civilians Killed in 2018, Far Below Estimates

Pentagon says US, UN use 'different methodologies' on killings

With major operations in Iraq and Syria mostly dying down in 2018, it was to be expected that the number of civilians the US killed in 2018 in wars would drop. The Pentagon’s systematic undercount, however, meant that the official count for the year was still going to be low, 120 killed the entire year.

That’s an under-count in the extreme, and would be an insultingly low figure to offer if the Pentagon wasn’t always offering such preposterous figures. Between US strikes in ISIS-held Syria throughout the year, and the Afghan War, it’s many times as many by every rational estimate.

US forces in Afghanistan have killed several hundred civilians, and the UN’s own data on the Afghan War confirms as much. The Pentagon seemed entirely aware of that fact, claiming that they and the UN use ‘different methodologies.”

This may well be true, but is not a good excuse for the US having such a low estimate. Moreover, the “methodology” doesn’t make this an apples to oranges comparison, as in both cases they’re still counting how many civilians the United States killed in airstrikes, and it was a lot more than 120.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of