Diego Garcia is home to a military base jointly operated by the United States and the United Kingdom. The base serves as a naval refueling and support station. It is also equipped with airfieldss that support even the largest of modern aircraft. B-52s and other bombers have been deployed from Diego Garcia on missions to Iraq during the Gulf War, and to Afghanistan in October, 2001.
Between 1967 and 1973 the British Government forcibly removed 2000 Ilois islanders to make way for the military base. In 2000 the British High Court granted the islanders the right to return to the Archipelago. In 2002 the islanders and their descendants, now numbering 4500, returned to court claiming compensation, after what they said were two years of delays by the British Foreign Office. The islanders currently live in the slums of Mauritius.
Some human rights groups claim that the military base is used by the U.S. government for interrogation of prisoners (with methods illegal in the U.S.).