Afghanistan: Reported US covert actions 2018

The timeline below contains information on all US air attacks on Afghanistan recorded by the Bureau in 2018. It is updated with the latest US air attacks. We also log Afghan Air Force attacks when they are reported. The Bureau collects information on the US and Afghan strikes and the people they kill from local and international media reports – including the Bureau’s own field investigations – as well as academics and NGOs that cite US, Afghan and Pakistani civil, military and intelligence officials, and witnesses and local people in the affected areas.

Please note that our data changes according to our current understanding of particular strikes. The information below represents our present best estimate.

Background

US aircraft have been bombing Afghanistan since late 2001 and the airstrikes have continued into the Trump administration. Up until December 2014 the US was operating in concert with its allies in the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force. Now it is just the US, and the Afghans, flying strike missions in the country. 

The Bureau began tracking the strikes from January 1 2015 onwards, when the US and Nato’s combat mission in Afghanistan came to an end. The Afghan military and police took the lead in fighting the Taliban with the US and its international partners moving into a non-combat “train, advise, assist” role, supporting local forces.

US air forces are still flying combat missions however. There are three targeting authorities that govern the kind of strikes the US can conduct in Afghanistan.

Force protection strikes are intended to protect friendly ground forces who are under attack, or are about to be attacked. From January 1 2015 the US was supposed to stop deliberately going after the Taliban, leaving that to the Afghans. But in June 2016, with the Taliban pushing the Afghan forces to breaking point, the US went on the offensive against the Taliban, under “strategic effect” strikes.

The third authority governs the US’s counter-terrorism strikes, part of its offensive operations against al Qaeda and, since January 2016, Afghanistan’s Islamic State offshoot.

Full data

The Bureau publishes a narrative timeline of US strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen each year. Links for all other timelines can be found here.

We also publish spreadsheets detailing casualty numbers in each country. You can download the entire Afghanistan sheet here.

Reported US strikes, Afghanistan 2018
Strikes recorded by the Bureau
Total reported strikes 2
Total reported killed 11-16
Civilians reported killed 0
Children reported killed 0
Total reported injured 0
US Air Force reported air operations, Afghanistan 2018
Total Close Air Support (CAS) sorties with at least one weapon release
Total CAS sorties
Total weapons released

Strikes

AFG435Cii link

17 January 2018

  • 3 reported killed
  • 3 reported injured

At least three fighters were killed and three others injured in a US drone strike, officials from the 201st Silab Corps, part of the Afghan army, told Khaama Press.

The airstrike reportedly hit a vehicle carrying armed fighters. 

A date for the strikes was not given, although they were reported on January 17. 

  • Type of strike: Possible US strike
  • Location: Dandu Nokar Khel area, Khogyani district, Nangarhar province 
  • References: Khaama Press

Afghan Air Force strike link

16 January 2018

  • 1-17 reported killed

At least 17 fighters were killed and nearly a dozen injured in a strike carried out by Afghan forces in Badakhshan province, an intelligence official told Pajhwok. 

The official said an A-29 aircraft carried out the attack on the hideouts of "foreign terrorists" using the house of someone identified as Almas Khan as their headquarters. 

A member of the provincial council, Javid Mujadidi, however seemed to say the strike killed one individual and injured four others. 

A date for the strike was not given but it was reported on January 16. 

  • Type of strike: AAF
  • Location: Khastak area, Juram district, Badakhshan province
  • References: Pajhwok

AFG435Ci link

15 January 2018

Two different US drone strikes in Nangarhar province killed an estimated 23 members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State, according to a statement from the 201st Silab Corps, a part of the Afghan army, as reported by Khaama Press. A separate Khaama Press article reported Taliban insurgents were also among the dead. 

A strike in Mamand Daga area of Achin district killed 21, the statement said. Another in Marki area of Sherzad district reportedly killed two fighters, identified as Osman and Abba

The Bureau includes only strikes reported by named Afghan sources, or named and unnamed US sources, in its spreadsheet. This has been included as a possible strike as a result of its sourcing. 

The strike in Sherzad was reported to have taken place on January 15, but a date for the other strike was not given. 

  • Type of strike: Possible US strike
  • Location: Nangarhar province 
  • References: Khaama Press 

AFG435C link

14 January 2018

  • 9-17 reported killed

Members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State were killed in two separate drone strikes in Nangarhar province, according to a statement from the provincial police and the 201st Silab Corps, part of the Afghan National Army. 

There was contradictory reporting on the strikes. Khaama Press reported the police saying a strike hit Achin district killing 14 fighters and a further strike in Haska Mina killed three others. TOLO News however reported the police statement said 14 died in in Haska Mina and three in Achin. It also reported the army statement saying one fighter died in Achin district, while eight died in Deh Bala district, which seems to be another name for Haska Mena.

A date was not given for the strikes, but they were reported by TOLO News and Khaama Press on January 14. 

Due to the confusion in the reporting, we will not include this in our database as yet. If more information comes to light, we will update this post. 

Type of strike: Possible US strike
Location: Nangarhar province
References: Khaama Press, TOLO News

AFG435 link

14 January 2018

  • 3 reported killed

Three members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State were killed in a drone strike in Nuristan province on the night of January 14, according to Sayed Momand, the province's government spokesperson. 

The US is the only country known to be flying armed drones in Afghanistan.

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike 
  • Location: Want Waigal district, Nuristan province 
  • References: Xinhua

AFG434 link

11 January 2018

  • 8-13 reported killed

Afghan sources told AFP that US forces launched a strike on an Afghan government militia following an insider attack in Nangarhar province.

The US soldiers were patrolling in Achin, a strong-hold of Islamic State, when there was a "shooting incident", according to Hakim Khan, a commander of the militia involved. US forces then conducted a strike on the group, he said. 

A militia fighter who survived the attack and a local neighbourhood representative told AFP that the strike came after an "infiltrator" in the militia shot at the US troops. 

In an earlier Khaama Press report, the Taliban said a member of their group infiltrated the "public uprising forces", a form of local defence forces. However, a security official reported that a clash broke out after a verbal incident and at least eight members of the group were killed. 

Khan believes 13 men were killed. An AFP reporter saw at least eight fighters being buried.

Resolute Support have reportedly not confirmed carrying out a strike as yet, but did say there had been an "active ground engagement". A US soldier was injured but is in a stable condition, it said. 

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike 
  • Location: Achin district, Nangarhar province 
  • References: Khaama Press, AFP

Afghan Air Force strike link

11 January 2018

  • 3 reported killed

The Afghan Air Force launched strikes against Islamic State targets in Kunar province in response to a large-scale attack repulsed earlier in the week, according to a statement from the 201st Silab Corps, part of the Afghan National Army. 

Three members of the group were killed in the strikes and weapons were destroyed, according to the statement.

A date for the strikes was not given, but they were reported by Khaama Press on January 11. 

  • Type of strike: AAF strike
  • Location: Suki district, Kunar province 
  • References: Khaama Press

AFG433CIX link

10 January 2018

  • 21 reported killed

The Afghan Ministry of Defence said strikes in Farah killed at least 21 fighters from an unspecified militant group, although it was not clear if Afghan or US forces had carried out the strikes. 

The dead reportedly included seven nationals of Pakistan. Three vehicles and several weapons were destroyed. 

It was not clear when they were carried out, but Khaama Press reported the strikes on January 10. 

  • Type of strike: Possible US strike
  • Location: Khak e Safid district, Farah province 
  • References: Khaama Press

AFG433CVIII link

6 January 2018

  • 1 reported killed

A key Taliban leader was killed in a strike in Helmand, according to a statement from the Helmand governor's office, although it was unclear if the strike was carried out by US or Afghan forces.

The Taliban leader was not named, but the statement claimed he was responsible for "financial deals and providing logistics" for the fighters. He was allegedly in contact with the group's leadership and had been arranging weapons and "military kits" for the insurgents. 

No other casualties were reported.

The date of the strike was not clear, but it was reported on January 6.

  • Type of strike: Possible US strike
  • Location: Nad e Ali district, Helmand province
  • References: Khaama Press

AFG433CVII link

5 January 2018

  • 14 reported killed

At least 14 members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State were killed in a strike in Laghman province, local police told TOLO News, but they did not specify whether it was carried out by Afghan or US forces.

The dead reported included two commanders of the group. 

  • Type of strike: Possible US strike
  • Location: Kondgul area, Alingar district, Laghman province
  • References: TOLO News

AFG433CVI link

5 January 2018

  • 21 reported killed

A series of strikes were reportedly carried out on Islamic State targets in Nangarhar's Haska Mena district, including on one of the group's training camps, the provincial government media office has said. 

The strike on the camp killed ten members of the group as they were receiving training, the statement said. Two compounds belonging to Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State were also hit, reportedly killing five fighters.

The statement said a further six fighters were killed in a strike during ground operations. 

However, it was not clear whether these strikes were carried out by Afghan or US forces. It was also not clear when the strikes took place, although they were reported by Khaama Press on January 5. 

  • Type of strike: Possible US strike 
  • Location: Nangarhar province 
  • References: Khaama Press

AFG433CV link

1 January 2018

  • 7 reported killed

Two different US strikes in Nangarhar province killed seven fighters, Khaama Press reported. The sourcing was however too vague to include these strikes in our database as yet. 

The first strike reportedly hit Bati Kot district killing five Taliban fighters, while the second hit Achin killing two members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State. 

  • Type of strike: Possible US strike 
  • Location: Nangarhar province 
  • References: Khaama Press 

AFG433Ciii link

1 January 2018

  • 0-26 reported killed, possible civilian casualties

A police chief in Jawzjan province has told Radio Free Afghanistan that Afghan strikes on a meeting of Islamic State fighters killed more than two dozen, and also led to civilian casualties. 

However, the chief allegedly cites the use of drones to carry out the strikes - the US is the only country known to be flying armed drones in Afghanistan. He also provides detailed information on the identity of those killed within hours of the strike, something questioned by RFA in their reporting, especially as the region has been largely under the control of Islamic State for more than two years. The chief also appears to offer contradictory information regarding the civilian casualties to two different new sites.  

“Based on the specific target information, our aircraft targeted major meetings of Daesh (Islamic State) in the village of Saradara and Alkhani [in Darzab district],” Police Chief Faqir Mohammad Jawzjani told RFA.  “More than 26 people were killed in the attacks, which included some foreigners and prominent militant commanders, and many more were injured.”

Jawzjani said three French nationals and four fighters from Uzbekistan were killed in the strikes. “The dead included famous militant commander Qari Zia, who was also known as Shuja. The other prominent militants were named as Yaqub and Shaikh, who was a judge and had recently arrived from [the IS enclave] in eastern Nangarhar Province,” he told RFA. 

The police chief also told RFA that two civilians were also killed in the strikes as they had gone to the meeting to resolve a tribal issue. However, in comments to Pajhwok, he says two civilians in Islamic State custody had been injured. The discrepancy could be a result of more information surfacing in the aftermath. 

A commander of the "public uprising group" put the civilian death toll at higher. He told Pajhwok ten civilians had been killed in the strike, including five women and a child. The victims had been travelling when Islamic State fighters stopped their vehicle to use it to evacuate injured fighters, he said.  

A police spokesperson told Pajhwok that he had not recieved reports of civilian casualties from the strikes. 

The above will be recorded as possible US strikes. While the police chief alleges they were carried out by Afghan forces, the reported use of a drone could suggest otherwise. 

There is also a lack of clarity over the date of the strikes - Radio Free Afghanistan reports them on January 2, while Pajhwok believes they took place the previous night. Jawzjani is the source for both dates. 

AFG433CIV link

1 January 2018

  • 61 reported killed, including 1 civilian
  • 30 reported injured, including 14 civilians

In a statement, the Nangarhar governor's office said that at least sixty members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State were killed and a further 18 injured in "joint" Afghan-US strikes in Nangarhar province. 

The statement, reported in Khaama Press, said one civilian was also killed and at least 14 others injured. They had been used by fighters as human shields. it said. 

It is not clear what is meant by "joint" strikes so we have recorded these as possible US strikes.

The strikes hit Gorgori, Shinkai, and Angor areas of Haska Mena district. 

  • Type of strike: Possible US strike 
  • Location: Haska Mena district, Nangarhar province
  • References: Khaama Press