In the first report of its kind, the US has estimated that more than 719 individuals have been killed while engaged in reconstruction efforts in Iraq from 2003 to 2010.
A study by the US’ Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (Sigir), entitled The Human Toll of Reconstruction and Stabilization during Operation Iraqi Freedom, was published on 30 July.
It attempts to account for the number of US military personnel, US civilians, Iraqis and other nationals killed while “performing stabilisation and reconstruction” operations, as opposed to combat operations.
The report looks at data from 1 May 2003 to 31 August 2010. US military personnel numbering 264 and 54 US civilians were killed, along with 271 Iraqis and 130 people from other nationalities.
“The paucity of accurate and complete data means that these figures represent the minimum number of personnel killed while conducting stabilisation and reconstruction operations. The actual total, especially for Iraqi deaths, was certainly significantly higher,” says the report.
Despite the number of attacks falling since the peak of violence in 2006 and 2007, Iraq remains unstable. The deadliest single day in the past two years came on 23 July, when a series of coordinated attacks across the country killed more than 100 people and injured dozens.
The costs of supporting and securing contractors in the country remains high. The US government estimates the cost of security at almost 93 per cent of the $4bn allocated by the State Department and Department of Defence for Iraq.