Sep 8, 2020 - World

Report estimates U.S. war on terror has displaced at least 37 million people

Soldiers standing next to children.
Afghan children alongside U.S. soldiers in 2009. Photo: TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP via Getty Images

At least 37 million people have been displaced as a result of wars fought by the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001 — more than from all conflicts since 1900 except for World War II, according to a report from Brown University out Tuesday.

The big picture: The U.S. is set to enter its 20th year of the war on terror, which began on Oct. 7, 2001, with the invasion of Afghanistan under the Bush administration.

  • The findings come as anti-refugee sentiments have grown in the U.S. and other Western countries, the New York Times notes.
  • The number of refugees and internally displaced people around the world has doubled between 2010 and 2019, according to the report.

Details: The report counts people who have been displaced in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria. It doesn't include millions of people who were displaced in other countries where the U.S. has had smaller counterterrorism operations.

  • The report calls the figure "a very conservative estimate," adding that the real number of displaced people could be between 48 million to 59 million.
  • Zoom in: Somalia has seen 46% of its population displaced since American forces entered the country in 2002.

Worth noting: Some 25.3 million people have returned to their home countries or regions since the conflicts began.

What they're saying: “It tells us that U.S. involvement in these countries has been horrifically catastrophic, horrifically damaging in ways that I don’t think that most people in the United States, in many ways myself included, have grappled with or reckoned with in even the slightest terms," David Vine, an anthropology professor at American University and the lead author of the report, told the New York Times.

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