At least 37M people displaced by war on terror: researchers

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At least 37 million people have been displaced by the U.S.-led “war on terror” since Sept. 11, 2001, according to Brown University’s Costs of War project published on Tuesday. 

The post-9/11 conflicts have forcibly displaced people into and from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria during the most violent years of war.

The research claims to be the first of its kind that documents how many people were displaced by U.S. military involvement during the time period as the U.S. is weeks away from entering its second decade of the war. 

The number of people displaced during the conflicts is higher than every other war since 1900 except World War II, according to the study.

The research notes that 37 million is a “very conservative estimate” and predicts the total “could be closer to” 48 million to 59 million. The number does not include the millions of people displaced by smaller U.S. combat operations in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. 

Researchers determined that about 25.3 million people returned to their homes after being displaced, but that number includes any children born to refugee parents.

The report indicates that U.S. military involvement was not the only reason for displacement in these countries, but that it was a dominant or contributing factor. People fled their homes and sometimes their countries for various reasons, including aerial bombing and drone strikes, artillery fire and gun battles, death threats and ethnic cleansing. 

The conflicts have also impacted the economic stability of certain areas, including loss of jobs, businesses and industries, and access to food, water, hospitals and schools. 

A Department of State spokesperson said the agency disputes the report’s assumption that the U.S. is responsible for all of the conflicts and humanitarian crises that have caused displacement.

The spokesperson also noted the U.S. has led in international humanitarian crisis aid, including more than $9 billion in fiscal year 2019 for funding for those affected by conflict. The U.S. has given more than $70 billion in humanitarian aid over the past 10 years, the spokesperson said.

A State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration representative told The New York Times that the office releases an annual report on refugees and displaced peoples, but it “does not distinguish based on cause of displacement.”

The report comes as the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. has decreased under President Trump’s administration.

This includes a 95 percent drop in refugees from Iraq and a 91 percent decline of Somali refugees since January 2017, compared to the same period at the end of former President Obama’s administration, The New York Times reported

–Updated on Sept. 14 at 1:54 p.m.

Tags 9/11 Afghanistan Brown University displacement Donald Trump Iraq libya Military Pakistan refugees Somalia Syria the Philippines U.S. military War on Terror Yemen
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