20 years after the terrorist attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center of Sept 11, 2001, at least 22,000 civilians have been killed in U.S. airstrikes during the war on terror, mainly in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The minimum estimate counts around 11,500 civilian airstrike deaths in Iraq, 5,700 in Syria and 4,800 in Afghanistan. Additional deaths occurred in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and Libya. The maximum estimate by UK NGO Airwars, which analyzed declared U.S. airstrikes since 2001, is more than twice as high at around 48,000.
Meanwhile, more than 7,000 U.S. service members and more than 8,000 contractors had died in post 9/11 wars as of July 2021, shortly before the U.S. ended its longest ever war in Afghanistan in August. As the world on this Saturday remembers the almost 3,000 people killed in the 9/11 attacks, a grim toll and few triumphs emerge on both sides.
While the civilian casualties have more obvious peaks in Iraq in 2003/2004 and in Syria between 2015 and 2019, the Afghanistan war saw fewer deaths per year on average but killed between 100 and 550 Afghan civilians every year between 2006 and 2019. No complete data for 2021 was available.