U.S. strikes kill 64-116 civilians outside active war zone between 2009

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) says that the number of civilian deaths in Pakistan, Yemen and Africa, as a result of US counterterrorism strikes is between 64-116, between January 20, 2009 and December 31, 2015.

Obama also signed an executive order Friday that requires USA policies to limit non-combatant casualties and publicizing the number of strikes each year, and combatants and civilians killed.

The US has admitted killing up to 116 civilians with hundreds of drone strikes in countries where it is not officially at war, but the number is a fraction of that recorded by human rights organisations.

A US official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the total of 473 strikes disclosed by the Obama administration on Friday included strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. It does not cover those in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria.

The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity because they aren't authorized to disclose the information. 'There are obviously limitations to transparency when it comes to matters as sensitive as this'.

The newly released figures were cast as a rebuke to those claims, which USA officials have said are often inflated by erroneous press reports or even efforts by Pakistan and Yemen to pass off their own military miscues as US drone strikes. While calling some of the nongovernmental data "credible reporting", the report argued that the United States government is more experienced in assessing strikes, and better informed, thanks to classified information about the strikes that outside sources can't access. US agencies are also now required to act in a uniform manner to avoid civilian casualties.

Human rights groups have long claimed that the administration undercounts civilian casualties and the new information is unlikely to satisfy them entirely.

The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates between 492 and 1,100 civilians have been killed by drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia since 2002.

The report admits that there is a discrepancy, comparing its numbers to unofficial estimates of roughly 200 to 900.

The drone program uses a "non combatant casualty cutoff value" sliding scale to decide whether civilian casualties are permitted, based on the value of killing the intended target.

Jennifer Gibson from the human rights organization Reprieve, which has brought drone survivors to the USA to testify, estimates more than 4,000 people have been killed by drones including hundreds of children and said the Obama administration's estimation of casualties "is unlikely to be worth the paper it's printed on".

Federico Borello, executive director of Center for Civilians in Conflict in Washington, said Thursday that he applauds Obama's forthcoming executive order.

The order also makes civilian protection a priority.

Reprieve, a non-profit human rights organization, put out a statement in advance of the report that questioned the new numbers. I n an interview previous year, Michael T Flynn, the former head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, called it a "failed strategy" that was "creating more enemies than [it is] removing from the battlefield".

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