Pentagon’s new plan to avoid civilian deaths in strikes


The centre would initially start operations in the 2023 budget year that begins October 1 and would be fully staffed and working by 2025…reports Asian Lite News

The United States Department of Defence (DOD) is planning to launch a new centre to help avoid civilian casualties in military operations around the world through better education and training and increased screening before strikes are launched, media reported.

The latest move, reportedly ordered by Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, is seen as a reaction to the widespread criticism received by the US over the air strike in Kabul last August that killed 10 civilians, including children, during the final days of the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.

According to Associated Press, a senior defence official said the development of a new Civilian Protection Center of Excellence and other improvements will cost “tens of millions of dollars” per year, and the plan more broadly would involve the addition of about 150 staff.

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The centre would initially start operations in the 2023 budget year that begins October 1 and would be fully staffed and working by 2025, it was reported.

Laid out in a 36-page action plan, the changes approved by Austin call for updated policies and guidelines for military operations, and steps that must be taken in order to better analyse threats, assess who is on the ground and determine what other civilian structures could be affected.

Meanwhile, the US Air Force has bombed new positions manned by militias loyal to Iran in Syria for the second time in 24 hours, the American military’s Central Command and a monitoring group said on Thursday.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the new airstrikes targeting posts in the countryside of Deir al-Zour resulted in the killing of three Iran-backed militia fighters, reports dpa news agency.

In its report, the US Central Command said there were two or three dead and the bombings were a response to coordinated militia rocket attacks on two American Army facilities in the region shortly before.

On Wednesday, the US Air Force attacked positions also in Deir al-Zour which are manned by a group made up of Shia fighters from Afghanistan.

The Observatory said six people were killed in Wednesday’s strikes.

“The strike was necessary to protect and defend US personnel in Syria, which had been the targets of several recent attacks by Iran-backed militia groups,” top Pentagon official Colin Kahl said Wednesday in Washington.

The US soldiers were fired on several times by the militias, he added.

“This operation is a demonstration (that) the US will not hesitate to defend itself against Iranian and Iran-backed aggression when it occurs,” Kahl said.

US forces deployed in Syria in 2015 to help their allies, especially the Syrian Kurds, in their fight against the Islamic State terror group.

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