Afghanistan: Reported US covert actions 2020

The timeline below contains information on all US air attacks on Afghanistan recorded by the Bureau in 2020. 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 2020
Strikes recorded by the Bureau
Total reported strikes 1012
Total reported killed 6-124
Civilians reported killed 0-42
Children reported killed 0-4
Total reported injured 0-32

Strikes

AFG4236Ci link

24 March 2020

  • 25 reported killed
  • 33 reported injured

The Afghan security services killed 25 Taliban fighters and injured 33 others across three districts of Balkh province in response to "coordinated Taliban attacks" with the support of Air Forces, Khaama Press reported - though it was not clear whether US or Afghan air forces were called in.

The 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan military reportedly said in a statement that the security forces responded to attacks in Balkh, Dawlatabad and Chemtal districts of Balkh province.

The statement further added that the security forces killed 25 Taliban militants including Mullah Hafiz, one of the commanders of the group and wounded 33 others including Mullah Raihan and Qari Jannat, two other commanders of the group.
The security forces also cleared 12 villages during the clearance operations, the 209th Shaheen Corps added.

It was also not clear whether air strikes were carried out in all three districts.

Khaama Press did not explicitly give a date for this incident, so we have recorded it as the date it was reported on.

  • Type of strike: Possible US air or drone strike
  • Location: Balkh, Dawlatabad and Chemtal districts, Balkh province.
  • References: Khaama Press

AFG4236C link

7 March 2020

  • 0-8 reported killed
  • 0-5 reported injured

Eight Taliban fighters were killed and five others injured in airstrikes that targeted two gatherings of the group in Balkh province, Khaama Press reported - though it was not clear whether US or Afghan forces were responsible.

The 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan military reportedly said in a statement that "targeted the Taliban gatherings in the centre and Afghan Chaharsai Al-burz area of Chemtal district".

No reference was made as to who conducted the strikes.

Khaama Press did not explicitly give a date for the strikes, so we have recorded them as the date they were reported on.

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Centre of Chemtal district & the Afghan Chaharsai Al Burz area of Chemtal district, Balkh province
  • References: Khaama Press

AFG4236 link

4 March 2020

  • Unknown casualties

The US carried out an airstrike against the Taliban in Helmand province just four days after signing a troop-reduction peace deal with the group. The strike was carried out on the back of a series of 43 attacks on Afghan National Security Forces checkpoints in Helmand on March 3 alone, US Spokesperson Col. Sonny Leggett confirmed.

This was the first strike against the Taliban in 11 days, the US said, following a period of "reduction of violence" ahead of the peace deal signing in Doha on February 29.

A senior Taliban commander in Helmand who declined to be named said that a drone had targeted their position.

“As far as I know we didn’t suffer any human losses but we are working on it and sent our team to the area,” he told Reuters, adding that the group’s senior leadership in Afghanistan had called an emergency meeting to discuss what he described as a “major violation” of the agreement.

At least 25 Afghan soldiers were killed and 13 others were injured in three separate Taliban attacks overnight Tuesday, local officials confirmed to CNN on Wednesday.

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Nahr e Saraj district, Helmand province
  • References: AFP, Reuters, CNN, BBC

No Title

No Description

AFG4235C link

3 March 2020

  • 7 reported killed

A US airstrike in eastern Kunar killed seven fighters from Afghanistan's branch of the Islamic State, Khaama Press reported.

The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan military reportedly said in a statement that the strike was carried out at around 9am local time in the Mazar Dara area of Noor Gul district.

  • Type of strike: Possible US air or drone strike
  • Location: Mazar Dara area, Noor Gul district, eastern Kunar province
  • References: Khaama Press

AFG4235 link

1 March 2020

  • 6 reported killed

A US airstrike in eastern Kunar province killed six fighters from Afghanistan's branch of the Islamic State, Khaama Press reported.

The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan military reportedly said in a statement that a US drone targeted the fighters in the Dewa Gul Valley of Suki district.

Among those killed was said to be Ghani, the commander in charge of ISIS prisons and Qari Zahar, another local senior ISIS commander.

Xinhua reported that the same strike was conducted in the Nurgal district, rather than the Suki district.

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Dewa Gul Valley, Suki district, eastern Kunar province
  • References: Khaama Press, Xinhua

AFG4234 link

26 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Two strikes hit Kunar province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4233 link

25 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Two strikes hit Kunar province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4232 link

21 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

One strikes hit Uruzgan province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4231 link

21 February 2020

  • 0-5 reported killed

Three strikes hit Sar e Pul province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

There had been previous reports of a strike in Sar e Pul on this day. Five Taliban fighters were killed in an airstrike in Sar e Pul province, Khaama Press reported - though it was not clear whether US or Afghan forces were responsible.

Military officials reportedly said that the security forces carried out the strike in the Sayad district and also destroyed a small weapons cache.

While responsibility was placed with the security forces, we cannot rule out US involvement as they often provide air support for the security forces.

Without further locational information from US Forces - Afghanistan, we cannot be sure that Khaama Press are referring to one of the confirmed US strikes in Sar e Pul on this day.

AFG4230 link

21 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Two strikes hit Kunar province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4229 link

21 February 2020

  • 0-6 reported killed

Three strikes hit Kapisa province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

There had been previous reports of a strike in Kapisa on this day. An airstrike in Kapisa province killed six members of Afghanistan's branch of the Islamic State, Khaama Press reported - though it was not clear whether US or Afghan forces were responsible.

Khaama Press did not explicitly give a date for this incident, so we have recorded it as the date that it was reported on.

There were no further details, we therefore cannot be sure that this is referring to one of the confirmed US strikes on this day.

AFG4228 link

21 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

One strike hit Helmand province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4227 link

21 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Four strikes hit Balkh province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4226 link

20 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

One strike hit Uruzgan province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4225 link

20 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Five strikes hit Takhar province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4224 link

20 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Four strikes hit Kapisa province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4223 link

20 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Two strikes hit Helmand province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4222 link

20 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Two strikes hit Farah province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4221 link

19 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Two strikes hit Uruzgan province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4220 link

19 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Two strikes hit Parwan province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4219 link

19 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

One strike hit Nimroz province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4218 link

19 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

One strike hit Logar province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4217 link

19 February 2020

  • 0-1 reported killed

One strike hit Kunar province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

There had been previous reports of a strike in Kunar on this day. An airstrike in the province killed one fighter from Afghanistan's branch of the Islamic State, Khaama Press reported - though it was not clear whether US or Afghan forces were responsible.

Military officials reportedly said that the strike was carried out in the Tswoky district over the past 24 hours. It is therefore not clear whether it was on February 19 or 18.

Without further locational information from US Forces - Afghanistan, we cannot be sure that Khaama Press is referring to the confirmed US strike in Kunar on this day.

AFG4216 link

19 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

One strike hit Kandahar province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4215 link

19 February 2020

  • 0-3 reported killed

Four strikes hit Helmand province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

There had been previous reports of a strike in Helmand on this day. An airstrike in the province killed three Taliban fighters, Khaama Press reported - though it was not clear whether US or Afghan forces were responsible.

Military officials reportedly said that the strike was carried out in the Nahr e Saraj district over the past 24 hours. It is therefore not clear whether it was on February 19 or 18.

US Forces - Afghanistan recorded strikes in Helmand on both of these days in their monthly release of strike data. Without further locational information from them, we cannot be sure that they are referring to one of the confirmed US strikes in Helmand on this day.

AFG4214 link

19 February 2020

  • 0-1 reported killed

One strike hit Ghazni province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

There had been previous reports of a strike in Ghazni on this day. An airstrike in the province killed one Taliban fighter, Khaama Press reported - though it was not clear whether US or Afghan forces were responsible.

Military officials reportedly said that the strike was carried out in the Deh Yak district over the past 24 hours. It is therefore not clear whether it was on February 19 or 18.

Without further locational information from US Forces - Afghanistan, we cannot be sure that Khaama Press is referring to one of the confirmed US strikes on this day.

AFG4213 link

19 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Two strikes hit Badghis province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4212 link

18 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Eleven strikes hit Nangarhar province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4211 link

18 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

One strike hit Logar province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4210 link

18 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Five strikes hit Laghman province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4209 link

18 February 2020

  • 0-5 reported killed

Four strikes hit Kunar province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

There had been previous reports of a strike in Kunar on this day. Airstrikes in the province killed five fighters from Afghanistan's branch of the Islamic State, Khaama Press reported - though it was not clear whether US or Afghan forces were responsible.

The Afghan MoD reportedly said in a statement that one strike was carried out in the Suki district and killed four fighters, while another killed one in the Tarang district.

Khaama Press did not explicitly give a date for this strike, so we have recorded it as the date that it was reported on.

Without further locational information from US Forces - Afghanistan, we cannot be sure that Khaama Press are referring to one of the confirmed US strikes in Kunar on this day.

AFG4208 link

18 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Twelve strikes hit Kandahar province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4207 link

18 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Five strikes hit Helmand province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4206 link

18 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Two strikes hit Faryab province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4205 link

18 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

One strike hit Balkh province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4204 link

17 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Two strikes hit Parwan province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4203 link

17 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Nine strikes hit Nangarhar province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4202 link

17 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Four strikes hit Kunar province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4201 link

17 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

One strike hit Herat province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4200 link

17 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Two strikes hit Helmand province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4199 link

17 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

One strike hit Baghlan province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4198 link

17 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Four strikes hit Badghis province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4197 link

16 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Four strikes hit Zabul province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4196 link

16 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

One strike hit Uruzgan province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4195 link

16 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Two strikes hit Nangarhar province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4194 link

16 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

One strike hit Helmand province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4193 link

16 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Three strikes hit Farah province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4192 link

15 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Three strikes hit Zabul province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4191 link

15 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

One strike hit Kunar province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.

AFG4190 link

15 February 2020

  • Unknown casualties

Four strikes hit Helmand province on this day, according to data from US Forces - Afghanistan.

No further details were given. To see more about the release of this data, click here.