Despite the deadly disaster strike to target alleged terrorists after the Afghanistan suicide bombing killing 10 innocent civilians, the first year of the Biden administration has conducted 54% fewer airstrikes than the last year of the Trump administration.
The U.S. military has carried out 439 aerial attacks in 2021, a marked drop from a year prior, Airwars analysis showed.
"Based on official U.S. military data, it is clear that Joe Biden is building on a trend seen in the latter years of Donald Trump's presidency, further decreasing the scope and scale of the 'forever wars,'" the analysis concluded.
Most of those strikes came before the U.S. withdrawal in Afghanistan and just 67 airstrikes were conducted outside of Afghanistan thus far this year, official military data showed.
"The biggest take-home is that Biden has significantly decreased U.S. military action across the globe," according to Airwars' report Wednesday, crediting the administration for "far lower numbers of civilians allegedly killed by the U.S. strikes.
"This is by far the lowest declared annual U.S. strike number since at least 2004, and reflects a broader trend of declining US actions in recent years," according to the report.
The drop is most marked in Yemen, where there were no U.S. declared airstrikes in 2021 after 18 in 2020.
The civilian casualty totals have declined along with the strikes, as "there were no credible local allegations of civilians" killed by U.S. strikes in Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, or Yemen, Airwars' report added.
"Even with the best technology in the world, mistakes do happen, whether based on incomplete information or misinterpretation of the information available, and we try to learn from those mistakes," U.S. Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban told The New York Times last week.
"We work diligently to avoid such harm. We investigate each credible instance. And we regret each loss of innocent life.
"In many combat situations, where targeteers face credible threat streams and do not have the luxury of time, the fog of war can lead to decisions that tragically result in civilian harm," Urban added to the Times.
The official data does not include undeclared CIA strikes and reports from the month of December are not included yet, according to Airwars.
"The skies over Afghanistan are free of U.S. war planes for the first time in two decades," International Crisis Group's Graeme Smith told Airwars. "A whole generation grew up under their contrails; nobody looks at the sky without checking for them.
"Their absence heralds the start of a new era, even if it's not yet clear what that new chapter will bring."
Congress will likely debate the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was enacted to combat enemies around the world in the "war on terror" after the 9/11 terror attacks.
International Crisis Group's senior adviser Brian Finucane does not expect it to be completely repealed as much as amended, if not significantly.
"That would entail at a minimum specifying who the United States can hit — explicitly identifying the enemy," Finucane told Airwars. "Secondly identifying where it should be used — geographical limits. And thirdly giving a sunset clause.
"As it is now that AUMF is basically a blank check to be used by different administrations."
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