That was a “conservative” estimate, the researchers said: their report indicated the actual number of people displaced worldwide by America’s post-9/11 wars could be as high as 48 to 59 million.
The report, which was said to be the first of its kind, measured the impact US wars have had on displaced population levels since the US became involved in a number of military conflicts around the world. Those wars have forcibly displaced millions of people from not just Afghanistan and Iraq, but also Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria, the report said.
The report, titled “Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States’ Post-9/11 Wars,” was published on Tuesday and authored by David Vine, Cala Coffman, Katalina Khoury, Madison Lovasz, Helen Bush, Rachel Leduc, and Jennifer Walkup.
The US began a “global war on terror” in response to the 2001 terror attacks linked to Al Qaeda, sending combat forces to at least 24 countries during nearly two decades of nonstop global military involvement.
As the US carried out military operations across the globe, domestic attitudes towards refugees became sharply polarised. Although President Donald Trump sailed to victory in the 2016 elections in part thanks to his calls for a “shutdown” of Muslims entering the country, the majority of Americans have consistently supported taking in refugees in nationwide surveys and said immigration strengthens the US.
The new report found that nearly half (46 percent) of Somalia’s entire population had been displaced since the US sent military forces into the region in 2002.