WASHINGTON – A wide range of human rights, civil liberty, religious and peace groups from the U.S. and across the globe on Wednesday demanded that President Joe Biden end lethal U.S. strikes outside recognized battlegrounds and the use of drone attacks that he authorized in recent days.

The 113 groups that signed the letter to Biden contended the attacks were unlawful and “a centerpiece of the United States’ forever wars.” The groups said the attacks had “exacted an appalling toll on Muslim, Brown and Black communities in multiple parts of the world.”

The organizations said that with the approach of the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, al-Qaida terrorist attacks on the United States, it was time to “chart a new path forward that promotes and respects our collective human security.”

“Successive presidents have now claimed the unilateral power to authorize secretive extrajudicial killing outside any recognized battlefield, with no meaningful accountability for wrongful deaths and civilian lives lost and injured,” the groups said in their letter to Biden.

“This lethal strikes program is a cornerstone of the broader U.S. war-based approach, which has led to wars and other violent conflicts; hundreds of thousands dead, including significant civilian casualties; massive human displacement; and indefinite military detention and torture. It has caused lasting psychological trauma and deprived families of beloved members, as well as means of survival.”

Biden, like other recent U.S. presidents, has embraced the use of armed drones, in part because they can be deployed without the use of troops in combat and thus limit the potential for American casualties.

Biden, according to the Pentagon, authorized airstrikes Sunday in Iraq and Syria against two Iranian-backed militias that had attacked American personnel in Iraq in recent weeks.

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The groups protesting the use of U.S. drones said they supported Biden’s “stated commitments to ending ‘forever wars,’ promoting racial justice and centering human rights in U.S. foreign policy. Disavowing and ending the lethal strikes program is both a human rights and racial justice imperative in meeting these commitments.”

Biden has committed to withdrawing all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the 9/11 anniversary, with the Defense Department saying most are out already. There was no immediate White House comment about the letter protesting U.S. drone use.

Among the groups that signed the letter were Amnesty International USA, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Human Rights Watch, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, Peace Direct in Britain and Justice Project Pakistan.