Afghanistan: Reported US covert actions 2017

The timeline below contains information on all US air attacks on Afghanistan recorded by the Bureau in 2017. 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 2017
Strikes recorded by the Bureau
Total reported strikes 2607-2609
Total reported killed 852-1445
Civilians reported killed 13-149
Children reported killed 2-27
Total reported injured 147-295

The Air Force publishes its data online in an Air Power Summary – the monthly figures are posted in the second week of the following month. For example, data for January will be posted in the second week of February. Therefore, the figures in the table above and below are only ever accurate up to the end of the previous month.

US Air Force reported air operations, Afghanistan 2017
Total Close Air Support (CAS) sorties with at least one weapon release 1104
Total CAS sorties 4235
Total weapons released 3906

Strikes

AFG433Cii link

31 December 2017

Various news sites reported the death of Osama bin Laden's 12-year-old grandson, with some speculation he was killed in an air strike.

The boy, also named Osama, likely died earlier this year, with his death revealed, according to The New Arab, in a leaked letter from his father to the family reportedly dated to this year's Islamic month of Dhu al-Qidah, which fell between July and August. The Daily Mail reports that the letter was published by Al-Qaeda's propaganda arm. 

While there were no further details on the cause or date of his death, Arabi 21 reported, allegedly citing militant sources, that he was killed in an air strike on an al Qaeda base along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. However, other sources appear to say Osama died of an illness. 

We have recorded this as a possible US strike. In light of a lack of information regarding the date of his death, we have recorded the possible strike on the date the letter was reported on. 

AFG433Ci link

31 December 2017

  • 16 reported killed

Local officials reported the death of a senior Taliban leader in a strike, although it was not clear whether the strike was carried out by Afghan or US forces. 

The leader was identified as Mawlavi Ahmad Masroor, described as being in "charge of suicide attacks". A further 15 others insurgents were killed, including two other senior Taliban leaders, the officials told Khaama Press. 

A statement from the Helmand government media office reportedly named the other two leaders as Mullah Sediqullah and Mawlavi Sajad.

The strike, according to the statement, hit the insurgents as they were looking to send six suicide bombers to Nahr e Saraj district.

  • Type of strike: Possible US strike 
  • Location: Shoraki area, Greshk district, Helmand province
  • References: Khaama Press 

AFG433C link

30 December 2017

  • 5 reported killed

A US drone strike killed at least five members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State, according to unnamed local government officials reported in Khaama Press. 

The sourcing is too vague to include this strike in our database as yet. 

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

AFG433 link

30 December 2017

  • 3 reported killed

A US drone strike in Nangarhar province killed three members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State, according to a statement from the 201st Silab Corps, part of the Afghan National Army, reported in Khaama Press.

The statement said the strike hit in Deh Bala district's Kas area, targeting a group of fighters carrying weapons on two horses. Khaama Press flags up that the Nangarhar government media office placed the strike in Haska Mena and not Deh Bala. Haska Mena is however sometimes referred to as another name for Deh Bala. We will record the strike as taking place in Deh Bala.

A date for the strike was not given, but it was reported on December 30.

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Kas area, Deh Bala district, Nangarhar province 
  • References: Khaama Press

AFG432 link

28 December 2017

  • 8 reported killed
  • 3 reported injured

A drone strike killed eight members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State and injured three others, according to a statement from the 201st Silab Corps, part of the Afghan National Army, reported in Khaama Press.

It was not clear where in Nangarhar province the strike took place. It was reported alongside another strike recorded in the entry above. 

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Nangarhar province
  • References: Khaama Press 

Afghan Air Force strike link

26 December 2017

  • 11 reported killed

Eleven members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State were killed in Afghan Air Force strike in Nangarhar province, according to a Ministry of Interior statement reported by TOLO News. 

A cache of weapons was reportedly destroyed in the strike. 

It was not clear when the strike took place, but TOLO News reported in on December 26. 

  • Type of strike: AAF
  • Location: Achin district, Nangarhar province 
  • References: TOLO News 

AFG431CVIII link

26 December 2017

  • 1-3 reported killed

A US drone strike along the Pakistan-Afghan border killed a commander of the Haqqani Network, Pakistani officials and members of the group have said. However there is some disagreement over on which side of the border it fell.

The commander was identified by the sources as Jamiuddin or Jamil ud Din. A senior member of Haqqani Network told Reuters: “Maulvi Jamiuddin was our trusted man. He was part of our organisation and used to facilitate our fighters during their movement inside Afghanistan.” 

An eyewitness and members of the group placed the attack in Pakistan. The eyewitness, identified as Rehmanullah, said he saw the strike hit near the Mata Sanghar area of Kurram agency. “I saw two missiles hit the vehicle and the people inside were killed,” he told Reuters by telephone. Dawn reported that a missile had hit a compound in  the same area on December 18,  but said no casualties were reported. 

The senior member of Haqqani Network said Jamiuddin had been traveling in his car in Pakistan’s Kurram region, but said only he had been killed. “Jamiuddin stopped the car ... for conversation on his cellular phone when the drone fired two missiles and killed him on the spot,” another Haqqani member told Reuters.  

However officials of the Kurram political administration told MENAFN the strike was carried out inside Afghanistan. The news site reported their sources saying three people had been killed in the strike, which they located somewhere between Pakistan's Mata Sangar territory and Afghanistan's Maqbal area. This contradicts Kurram officials reported in RFE, who said the strike hit also in Mata Sanghar. 

A Pakistani official who spoke to Reuters also said he was unclear on what side of the border the strike took place. 

Due to the confusion over which side of the border the strike hit, we have recorded this as a possible strike in both our Pakistan and Afghan timelines. October saw a number of similar strikes which could not be placed 

AFG431CVII link

26 December 2017

  • 15 reported killed

At least 15 members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State were killed in a US drone strike in Nangarhar province, Khaama Press reported based on a statement from what was described as the provincial government media office.

Weapons and explosives were reportedly destroyed. 

The sourcing is too vague to include this in our database as yet. 

A date was not given for the strike, but it was reported on December 26. 

  • Type of strike: Possible US strike
  • Location: Bandar area, Achin district, Nangarhar province 
  • References: Khaama Press

Afghan Air Force strike link

22 December 2017

  • 37-38 reported killed
  • 14 reported wounded

The Afghan Ministry of Defence announced Afghan Air Force strikes killed the Taliban's shadow deputy governor of Herat province and 36 other senior Taliban leaders in Farah province.

A press release from the MoD said the strikes were carried out in Farah's Khak Safed district. It is not clear if the Herat shadow deputy governor was killed in Herat or Farah province. He was allegedly injured in the strike alongside 13 others, but later succumbed to his wounds. 

Khaama Press also reported the strikes but placed them in Herat. Khaama reported the death of Mullah Lal Haji Bari Jan Sadiq, describing him as a "Red Unit" commander. The MoD however lists him as the Taliban's "military-in-charge". They do report the death of a Taliban "Red Unit" commander for Farah province, identified as Bakhtyar Niyazi. 

Khaama also put the death toll at 38. 

AFG431CVI link

22 December 2017

  • 2-3 reported killed

A US drone strike killed the "military commission chief" of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State, according to the Nangarhar province media office as reported by Khaama Press. 

The commissioner was identified as Syd Wali.

The reporting stated it killed two fighters that were not Afghan nationals, but also seemed to say the strike killed three Pakistani fighters, including the commissioner.

Due to the unclear reporting and vague sourcing, we cannot confirm this strike and add it to our database as yet.

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

AFG431CV link

21 December 2017

  • 3 reported killed

In the reporting of a US strike in Nangarhar on December 22, Khaama Press said a similar strike also killed three Taliban insurgents the previous evening.

The information was attributed to unnamed local officials. The sourcing is too vague to include this strike in our database as yet.

  • Type of strike: Possible US strike
  • Location: Ghani Khel district, Nangarhar province
  • References: Khaama Press 

AFG431CIV link

20 December 2017

Clashes and strikes in southern Helmand killed 12 Taliban insurgents, according to a statement from the "provincial government media office", as reported by Khaama Press. 

It is unclear whether the nightime strikes, which reportedly hit heroin labs in the Gandom Rez area of Kajaki district, were carried out by Afghan or US forces. It also is not clear how many of those killed died in the strikes.

Qari Fida Mohammad, described as a "close aide" to the shadow Taliban governor for Helmand, was reported dead, but it seems he was killed in a separate strike to the strikes reported above. Khaama Press said he was among "several" insurgents killed when fighter jets hit the group around noon near Haji Baba roundabout, Marjah district. The other strikes allegedly hit in the night and in a different district. 

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

AFG431Ciii link

17 December 2017

Khaama Press reported counter-terrorism operations carried out with air support killing at least nine members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State, but it was not clear whether Afghan or US forces carried out the strikes and if the alleged fighters were killed in the ground operations or the supporting strikes.

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Khogyani and Haska Mena district, Nangarhar province
  • Reference: Khaama Press

AFG431Cii link

16 December 2017

  • 2 reported killed

US drone strikes killed two members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State, according to a statement from the provincial government media office reported by Khaama Press. 

The strike hit around noon in Nangarhar's Haska Mena district, the statement said.

Those killed were reportedly nationals of Tajikistan. 

The sourcing is too vague to confirm this as a US strike as yet. 

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Langari Kand area, Haska Mena district, Nangarhar province
  • References: Khaama Press  

AFG431Ci link

14 December 2017

A Taliban "Red Unit" leader died from wounds sustained during an air strike, General Dawlat Waziri, spokesperson for the Afghan Ministry of Defence, announced. 

This would be the second "Red Unit" commander killed in two weeks. On December 1, a US strike killed Mullah Shah Wali, described as Taliban’s “Red Unit” commander in Helmand province.

The latest strike reportedly killed Daud Muzamil. Aside from his role in the "Red Unit", he was, according to General Dawlat, appointed as the military commission chief of the group for Farah province. 

His death was reported on December 14, but the strike occurred a few days previously, the general said. It was not clear how soon after the strike he succumbed to his injuries. A further eight other insurgents were killed and eight wounded, including Muzamil, Waziri said. It was not clear if, after Muzamil death, nine people had died.

It was not clear whether US or Afghan forces carried out the strike so we cannot add it to our database as yet. 

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

AFG431C link

12 December 2017

The "provincial police commandment" told Khaama Press that a US strike killed three member's of Islamic State in Haska Mena district, Nangarhar province.

In the same report, Khaama Press reported strikes during the previous week killing 25 fighters in another Nangarhar province, although it was not clear whether US or Afghan forces carried out the strikes.

Due to vague sourcing and unclear attribution, neither of these strikes will be recorded in our dataset as yet. We will update this post if more information comes to light.

  • Type of strike: Possible US strikes
  • Location: Haska Mena and Achin district, Nangarhar provincr
  • References: Khaama Press

AFG431 link

9 December 2017

  • 8 reported killed
  • 3 reported injured

"Foreign forces" carried out a strike killing eight Taliban insurgents and injuring a further three on the outskirts of Uruzgan's Tarin Kot, according to a statement from the provincial police department, as reported by TOLO News.

According to the statement, Mullah Qasim, a Taliban commander, was among the dead.

The US is the only country, aside from the Afghan Air Force, known to be flying strike missions in Afghanistan. 

It was not clear when the strike took place, although it was reported on December 9. 

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Zabzak area, Tarin Kot, Uruzgan province
  • References: TOLO News 

AFG430 link

8 December 2017

US Forces - Afghanistan posted a video of a strike on its twitter page. The video caption said it showed a M142 HIMARS, a rocket system, conducting an artillery strike on a Taliban narcotics production facility in Helmand province.

According to the caption, it destroyed nearly $1 million in direct Taliban revenues.

There were no details on casualties. 

USForces Afghanistan on Twitter

Watch a M142 HIMARS conduct an artillery strike on a Taliban narcotics production facility in Helmand province Dec. 8, destroying nearly $1 million in direct Taliban revenues. "In the face of this pressure," @Commander_RS said, "the Taliban cannot win." https://t.co/3HVUbet7jG

Type of strike: Strike using HIMARS
Location: Helmand province
References: US Forces - Afghanistan via Twitter 

AFG429 link

7 December 2017

Carrier-based US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets hit multiple Taliban narcotics production facilities in Helmand province, US Forces - Afghanistan said on its Facebook page. A video was posted showing one of these attacks. 

The strike showed in the footage was one of several carried out overnight which, according to US Forces - Afghanistan, contributed to the destruction of nearly $4 million in direct Taliban revenues. 

The strikes are part of an ongoing campaign carried out under new targeting authorities provided to US Forces - Afghanistan. General Nicholson announced these authorities on November 19, following strikes hitting several drugs labs in northern Helmand. Given under the new South Asia strategy, they allow the US to hit Taliban revenue streams. 

There was no information on casualty estimates. 

We will record three strikes in our database, as US Forces - Afghanistan referenced "several" strikes.

USForces Afghanistan on Twitter

Watch U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets conduct a strike on multiple Taliban narcotics production facilities in Helmand province as part of an ongoing campaign to cut off the Taliban's economic lifelines. #ForAFG @USAFCENT @CENTCOM https://t.co/3WhK11zdTA

  • Type of strike: US strikes, launched by carrier-based US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets
  • Location: Helmand province
  • References: US Forces - Afghanistan via Facebook

Afghan Air Force strike link

6 December 2017

  • 5 reported killed
  • 10 reported injured

Five members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State were killed and ten others injured in an Afghan Air Force strike in Jawzjan province, the provincial governor's spokesperson told Pajhwok News.

Mohammad Raza Ghafoori, the spokesperson, said the strike, which hit in the evening in Elkhani village, was carried out in close coordination with security forces on the ground. Unreliable reports that a French national was among the dead fighters had surfaced, he said. 

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Elkhani village, Darz Ab district, Jawzjan province
  • References: Pajhwok

AFG428 link

5 December 2017

  • 25 reported killed

At least 25 members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State were killed in a drone strike in Nangarhar province, Police Spokesperson Hazrat Hussain Mashraqiwal told Pajhwok News. Key members of the group were killed, he said. 

Mashraqiwal said a strike hit a hideout of the group, which he placed in Momand Dara area in Achin district. Momand Dara is a district in the same province, but it is not clear whether it is also an area in Achin. The strike destroyed weapons, ammunition and explosives. 

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

AFG427 link

4 December 2017

  • 6 reported killed

US strikes killed the Taliban's shadow chief for Greshk district in Helmand province, according to Major Abdul Qadir Bahadurzai, a spokesperson for a division of the Afghan army. 

The spokesperson identified him as Mullah Mohammad Daud. Daud's death was also confirmed by the police chief of the district. Five other Taliban members were reportedly killed. 

“Mullah Mohammad Daud was returning from the funeral ceremony of Mullah Nasar, Taliban’s shadow deputy governor for Helmand, when came under airstrike,” Bahadurzai told Pajhwok.

The strikes reportedly hit an area between Greshk and Musa Qala districts.

According to Pajhwok, a Taliban spokesperson denied the claims, saying the man was an "ordinary insurgent". 

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Between Greshk and Musa Qala districts
  • References: Pajhwok

AFG426C link

3 December 2017

  • 4 reported killed
  • 7 reported injured

A strike hit a Taliban hideout in Farah province, according to a police spokesperson, but it was not clear whether this was carried out by US or Afghan forces. 

Iqbal Bahir, the police spokesperson, said four Taliban fighters were killed, including three commanders who he identified as Mullah Manan, Mullah Malik, Eng Mainsaz and Mullah Murtaza. The list provided includes four names, not three. A further seven insurgents were allegedly wounded. Two vehicles and weapons and ammunition were reportedly destroyed. 

Pajhwok also reported a resident in the area saying one civilian, who they identified as Malik, was killed and another injured in a helicopter attack. This seemed to be a different incident, with the resident saying this occurred on December 3 and Bahir reporting the strike the day before. The Taliban also said a civilian had been killed and two others wounded, according to Pajhwok. 

Bahir referred to the incident as a "security forces" air raid. We have recorded this as a possible US strike to reflect the possibility it was carried out by US forces.

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Khaksafid district, Farah province
  • References: Pajhwok 

AFG426 link

3 December 2017

  • 8 reported killed

At least eight members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State were killed in two US strikes in Nangarhar's Achin district, local officials told Khaama Press. 

Khaama Press said these reports were confirmed by the Nangarhar province media office. A statement from the office reportedly said drone strikes hit two separate locations in Peshogan and Abdul Khel areas of Achin.

It was not clear when the strikes took place but they were reported on December 3.

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Peshogan and Abdul Khel areas, Achin district, Nangarhar province
  • References: Khaama Press

AFG425 link

2 December 2017

  • 8 reported killed

A strike killed eight members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State in Nangarhar province, according to Attaullah Khogyani, spokesperson for the provincial governor.

The strike was carried out by "foreign forces", he said. The US is the only country, aside from the Afghan Air Force, known to be flying strike missions in Afghanistan. 

The date of the strike was not clear but it was reported on December 2. 

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Achin district, Nangarhar province
  • References: TOLO News

AFG424 link

1 December 2017

  • 5 reported killed

A video posted on the US Central command website showed a strike hitting a vehicle. According to the video's caption, this strike killed Taliban’s “Red Unit” commander in Helmand province, Mullah Shah Wali, also known as Haji Nasir.

The car was driving in Musa Qala, an district in Helmand province. One of Wali’s deputy commanders and three other insurgents were also killed in the strike, it said. 

"Wali and his Red Unit are responsible for planning numerous suicide bombings, IED attacks, and coordinated assaults against civilians, Afghan and coalition forces. Wali was directly responsible for coordinating operations and resupply of munitions, explosives, and materials for the Taliban throughout Helmand province," the caption read. 

Taliban's "Red Unit" commander for Helmand Province Killed

Taliban's "Red Unit" commander in Helmand province, Mullah Shah Wali, aka Haji Nasir, was killed in a kinetic strike in Musa Qal'ah, Helmand, Dec. 1, 2017. One of Wali's deputy commanders and three other insurgents were also killed in the strike.

AFG423 link

1 December 2017

  • 4 reported killed
  • 8 reported injured

A US strike killed four members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State and wounded a further eight in Nangarhar province, according to Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for the province's governor. 

Khaama Press reported that a drone strike hit a Islamic State compound citing local officials, while Khogyani referred to it as a "hideout".

It was clear when the strike took place, but it was first reported on December 1. 

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Wazir Tangi area, Khogyani district, Nangarhar province
  • References: TOLO News, Khaama Press

AFG422C link

30 November 2017

  • 3-4 reported killed

A drone strike hit near the Afghan border in Pakistan's Kurram Agency, according to multiple sources in Pakistan, although an Afghan official has claimed it hit on the Afghan side of the border.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials and a local government officer told Reuters a drone dropped two missiles on a compound housing fighters under the command of Abdur Rasheed Haqqani, described as a a senior network commander. Local news agencies reported Rasheed was a Taliban commander. 

Pakistani officials told AP three people were killed, but said they were unsure if Rasheed was in the compound at the time. They placed the compound on the Pesho Ghar mountain in the Kurram tribal region's Ghuzgari area. Meanwhile, officials told Reuters four people were killed, but said they could also not confirm Rasheed's death. 

Villagers initially reported a blast in the Upper Kurram area to authorities, one of the officials told Reuters. The official said an informant later said that it was US drone strike. Geo News said the attack took place at around 0400 local time. 

However, Abdullah Asrat, spokesperson for the governor of Paktia province, told AP the strike hit Afghan soil. Paktia borders Kurram Agency. In October, a number of strikes were reported on the Afghan-Pakistan border, with different sources saying it hit on different sides of the border. Asrat said seven fighters were killed, including two commanders, and another two were injured.  

Due the lack of clarity over  what side of the border the strike hit, we have recorded this strike as a "C" strike in both our Afghanistan and Pakistan timelines - a placeholder that is not included in the strike and casualty tally.

AFG422 link

29 November 2017

  • 8 reported killed

A US strike killed eight fighters in Nangarhar province, according to a statement from an Afghan Army division reported in local press.

The dead were Pakistan nationals, according to the statement. It did not mention what group those killed allegedly belonged to. 

The news reporting around the incident suggested it was both a single strike and multiple strikes. We have recorded between 1 and 2 strikes to reflect the ambiguity. 

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Mamand Margha area, Achin district, Nangarhar province
  • References: Pajhwok, Khaama Press

AFG421 link

28 November 2017

  • 7 reported killed

At least seven Taliban insurgents were killed in a "foreign troops" air strike in Logar province, Wali Wakil, a member of the provincial council member, told TOLO News. 

The strike targeted insurgents gathered in Azra district at around 1300 local time, he said. 

The US is the only country, aside from the Afghan Air Force, known to be flying strike missions in Afghanistan. 

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Azra district, Logar province 
  • References: TOLO News

AFG420 link

27 November 2017

  • 7 reported killed

At least seven members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State were killed in a drone strike in Nangarhar province, according to Attaullah Khogyani, the spokesperson for the province's governor.

The strike targeted a hideout in Haska Mina district, destroying a cache of weapons, the spokesperson said. His comments were reported by both TOLO News and Xinhua, but while TOLO News reported the strike occurring in the afternoon, Xinhua said it was at night. 

While Khogyani does not explicitly say these strikes were carried out by the US, America is the only country known to be flying armed drones in Afghanistan. 

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Sala Kas, Haska Mena district, Nangarhar province
  • References: Xinhua, TOLO News 

AFG419Ci link

26 November 2017

At least two members of Islamic State were killed in a US drone strike in Nangarhar province, according to a "provincial police commandment" reported by Khaama Press.

The sourcing is too vague to confirm this strike and include it in our database as yet. 

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Awghaz area, Haska Mina district, Nangarhar province
  • References: Khaama Press 

AFG419C link

25 November 2017

  • 14 reported killed

At least fourteen members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State were killed in a US strike in Nangarhar province, according to the provincial media office, although it was unclear whether it was US or Afghan strike.

The target was reportedly senior members of the group. Two of its leaders were killed, the media office said, identifying them as Asadullah Orakzai and Shakirullah Kunari

  • Type of strike: Possible US strike
  • Location: Mamand Dara, Achin district, Nangarhar province
  • References: Khaama Press

Afghan Air Force strike link

24 November 2017

  • 6 reported killed, including 5 civilians

A strike carried out by Afghan forces killed a Taliban commander and five members of his family, according to an Afghan official. 

Qais Qaderi, a spokesperson for the Kapisa province governor, said the strike killed Dilawar Khan, described as a Taliban commander, two women and three children. Khan's brother allegedly escaped during the strike. Qaderi said he had been firing shots at Afghan helicopters from his home before the strike.

  • Type of strike: Afghan Air Force strike
  • Location: Nijrab district, Kapisa province 
  • References: AP

Afghan Air Force strike link

22 November 2017

  • 20 reported killed

The Afghan Air Force reportedly launched a strike on a religious school in Wardak province, but officials have said no children were killed. 

The strike allegedly killed 20 Taliban exchanging fire with security forces, with the insurgents having taken shelter at the school compound.

Abdul Rahman Mangal, a spokesperson for the governor of Wardak, said there were no civilian casualties, adding that all the pupils had gone home before the strike hit.

  • Type of strike: Afghan Air Force strike
  • Location: Wardak province 
  • References: Reuters

AFG419 link

21 November 2017

  • 0- 44 reported killed

A US spokesperson confirmed that 16 strikes had been carried out in Helmand between 19-21 November. We had already recorded eight strikes (see entry below), which took place on November 19. This entry records the additional ones. 

While the spokesperson did not specify where in Helmand the strikes took place, reports had been surfacing of strikes in southern Helmand. This followed a widely the publicised attack on drug labs on November 19 in northern Helmand, which is in the detailed in the entry below. 

The regional military corps commander, General Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai, told VOA strikes in southern Helmand begun late on November 21 and continued into the morning. VOA reported these as both US and Afghan strikes. 

The strikes, he said, focused on a narcotics market run by the Taliban in Bahramcha. The general described it as the biggest narcotics market in Asia.

There had been a report of the strikes prior to this, but vague sourcing and some misreporting meant we could not add them to our database. Xinhua had reported an unnamed local official saying strikes hit southern Helmand on the night of November 21. 

"US fighters bombed the Taliban-run heroin labs in Bahramcha area of Dishu districts in Helmand province on Tuesday night, as a result 44 drug smugglers were killed and their heroin labs completely destroyed," the official told Xinhua. This is the second time over the past three days that US forces targeted heroin labs in Bahramcha area, the official said. 

Xinhua then went on to detail a Resolute Support press release that seemed to confirm the operations in sourthern Helmand. However, it appears the press release they were referring to was on the strikes in northern Helmand a few days ago.

  • Type of strike: Possible US air or drone strike
  • Location: Bahramcha area, Dishu district, Helmand province
  • References: XinhuaVoice of America, US Forces - Afghanistan via email 

AFG418 link

19 November 2017

  • Unknown reported killed

US and Afghan forces carried out strikes hitting Taliban drugs labs in northern Helmand as part of efforts to target the group's revenue streams, General Nicholson, commander of US Forces -  Afghanistan, said at a press briefing. 

The strikes, which he said took place in the past 24 hours, are part of a larger counternarcotics operations being carried out under new targeting authorities provided to US Forces - Afghanistan. Nicholson said that these authorities, given under the new South Asia strategy less than 90 days ago, allow the US to hit the "Taliban where it hurts" - their finances. From videos of the strikes, it appears the operation has been named "Jagged Knife". 

Two of these narcotics production facilities were struck by Afghan forces and another eight struck by US aircraft, Nicholson said. The US deployed B-52s, which, in the case of one attack, dropped "several" 2,000 pound bombs on the target. A video of this strike was shared which showed the strength of the blast. F22A Raptors were also used, a first in Afghanistan, Resolute Support said. Additionally, hellfire missiles fired from drones and US Marine Corps-operated High-Mobility Rocket System were used in the operation.

The variety of airframes in the air carrying different munitions allowed the US to make final decisions to ensure minimal collateral damage, Nicholson said. 

B-52 strike Against Taliban Revenue Streams

Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) and United States Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) launched a series of ongoing attacks Nov. 19, 2017 to hit the Taliban where they are most vulnerable: their revenue streams. Together, Afghan and U.S. forces conducted combined operations to strike drug labs and command-and-control nodes in northern Helmand province.

Resolute Support appeared to offer a slightly different version of events - in a press release they said US and Afghan forces conducted combined operations to hit seven Taliban drug labs and one command-and-control node in northern Helmand province. RS provided more geographical information, saying three of the strikes were in Kajaki district, four in Musa Qalah district and one in Sangin district.

To prepare a campaign like this it takes weeks or even months, Nicholson said, adding that "hundreds" of analysts mapped out the narcotics trafficking networks in northern Helmand and with ISR "soaking this area for hundreds of hours to then find, pinpoint, assess the targets". 

Nicholson warned that the strikes were "just the beginning", with operations continuing in the coming days. "To give you a sense of scale, in Afghanistan, there's an estimated -- you know, the Drug Enforcement Agency would estimate there's anywhere between 400 and 500 drug labs active at any given time.  So, last night, we took about 10 of those out -- off the battlefield in one night," he said. "So this is the temp we maintain. Now, of course, we're very deliberate and judicious about striking these, in order to ensure there's no collateral damage and there's no civilian casualties. But this is going to be steady pressure that's going to stay up, and we're not going to let up."

USForces Afghanistan on Twitter

Last night, we conducted strikes into Northern Helmand to hit the Taliban where it hurts: their narcotics financing." -Gen. Nicholson, USFOR-A #AFGStrong https://t.co/RLjDdSYTlI @CENTCOM @USAFCENT @DeptofDefense @TOLOnews @pajhwok @HM_Kakar @1TVNewsAF @ArianaNews_ @KhalilNoori https://t.co/152rTR236z

We have recorded eight strikes in our database, to reflect the eight targets General Nicholson said had been struck by US aircraft.

AFG417 link

14 November 2017

  • 6 reported killed, possible civilian casualties

A police spokesperson has said six Taliban insurgents were killed by a US strike while travelling in a vehicle in Helmand province.

A commander of the group was allegedly among the dead, according to Abdul Salam Afghan, the police spokesperson. He identified the commander as Mullah Jabar

However a Taliban spokesperson has alleged that the strike in-fact killed tribal elders and not any Taliban fighters.

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Camp Khalid area, Sangin district, Helmand province
  • References: Pajhwok

AFG416 link

13 November 2017

  • 4 reported killed

At least four members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State were killed in a US drone strike in Nangarhar province, according to a statement from the provincial government media office, as reported by Khaama Press. 

Two Pakistan nationals were allegedly among the dead, according to the statement.

The strike reportedly destroyed weapons, ammunition and explosives. 

A date for the strike was not given, but it was reported by Khaama Press on November 13. 

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

Afghan Air Force strike link

10 November 2017

  • 1 reported killed

Tolo News reported that a key commander of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State was killed in an Afghan Air Force strike, citing local officials.

A spokesperson for a division of the Afghan army confirmed the commanders death, who he identified as Shen Gul. 

No further details were provided. 

  • Type of strike: AAF strike
  • Location: Chapa Dara district, Kunar province
  • References: TOLO News

Afghan Air Force strike link

10 November 2017

  • 35 reported killed

The police chief of Kapisa has said the Taliban's deputy shadow governor for the province was among 35 fighters killed in an Afghan Air Force strike on November 10.

Police Chief Abdul Razaq Yaqoubi said the strike hit a village in Tagab district, where the Taliban fighters had gathered ahead of an attack on checkpoints. 

The deputy shadow governor was named as Ahsanullah

  • Type of strike: AAF strike
  • Location: Shaloti village, Tagab district, Kapisa province
  • References: TOLO News

Afghan Air Force strike link

9 November 2017

  • 0-8 reported killed
  • 4-25 civilians reported injured, including 0-4 children

Residents report that Afghan helicopter gunships hit a bazaar in Farah province, injuring 25 people including four children. However, the governor's spokesperson has said Taliban hideouts were hit and only four civilians were wounded, adding that they were in a stable condition. 

A surgeon at the provincial hospital confirmed that injured people had arrived at the hospital, adding that one elderly man who had a head injury was in a critical condition. Others were taken to private hospitals, he said. 

Abdul Ghafoor, a local resident, says residents rushed to make contact with the authorities when the attack began in the afternoon, but said no action was taken to stop it. He said the majority of those injured were shop owners.

Pajhwok spoke to Samiullah, an eight-year-old boy, in the hospital. He reportedly said, “When we heard the sounds of bombardment, my sisters ran to the house of my uncle to take refuge there, but as I followed them, a helicopter shot me on the way.”

A Taliban spokesperson told Pajhwok that its fighters had escaped unharmed, but civilians had not. 

Farah governor’s spokesperson, Nasir Mehdi, said eight Taliban fighters were killed, including three commanders. 

  • Type of strike: AAF strike
  • Location: Nang Abad village, Khak I Safid district, Farah province
  • References: Pajhwok 

AFG415C link

6 November 2017

  • 2 reported killed

The "military in charge" of the Islamic State group in Afghanistan was killed in a US drone strike, according to Khaama Press, citing a "provincial police commandment" statement. 

The "military in charge" was reportedly identified as Mawlavi Hashim Orakzai - although it is not clear what this term means. Khaama Press said a further fighter was killed.

The sourcing is also too vague to include this is our database as yet.

  • Type of strike: Possible US strike
  • Location: Dowa Khola area, Nazian district, Nangarhar province
  • References: Khaama Press

AFG415 link

5 November 2017

  • 4 reported killed

Two drone strikes killed eight Taliban insurgents in Paktia province, a local official told Xinhua. 

The first strike, which reportedly took place in the morning of November 5, is recorded below. The second strike was carried out hours later, Abdullah Hasrat, spokesperson for the province's governor, told Xinhua. Hasrat said this killed four insurgents. 

While the official does not explicitly say these strikes were carried out by the US, America is the only country known to be flying armed drones in Afghanistan. 

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Sayed Karam district, Paktia province
  • References: Xinhua

AFG414 link

5 November 2017

  • 4 reported killed
  • 7 reported injured

Two drone strikes killed eight Taliban insurgents in Paktia province, a local official told Xinhua. 

"Acting upon intelligence report the security forces launched drone strikes against Taliban hideout in Kohsin area of Sayed Karam district early Sunday morning (November 5)  killing four rebels including their key commander Mullah Farooq alias Ebrahim and injuring seven others," Abdullah Hasrat, spokesperson for the province's governor, told Xinhua.

Hasrat said a similar strike was carried out hours later in the same district killing a further four insurgents, which we have recorded in the entry above. 

While the official does not explicitly say these strikes were carried out by the US, America is the only country known to be flying armed drones in Afghanistan. 

  • Type of strike: US air or drone strike
  • Location: Kohsin area, Sayed Karam district, Paktia province
  • References: Xinhua 

AFG413Cii link

5 November 2017

  • 7 reported killed

Khaama Press reported that seven members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State were killed in air strikes in Nangarhar province, citing unnamed local officials and a "provincial police commandment" statement. 

The statement said strikes hit in Abdul Khel, Sara Ghondi and Malkand areas of Nangarhar's Achin district.

It was not clear whether US or Afghan forces carried out the strikes, and the sourcing was too vague to include this in our database anyhow. We will update this post if any more information comes to light.

  • Type of strike: Possible US strikes
  • Location: Achin district, Nangarhar province
  • References: Khaama Press

AFG413Ci link

5 November 2017

  • 6 reported killed

Pakistan Today reported three US drone strikes in Afghanistan near its border with Pakistan, citing a "private media outlet" as the source.

Six members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State were killed in the strikes, it said, adding that they targeted four of the group's bases in Nangarhar province.

The sourcing is too vague to include these alleged strikes in our database. They will be recorded here as "C" strikes - a placeholder that is not included in the strike and casualty tally.

  • Type of strike: Possible US strikes
  • Location: Nangarhar province
  • References: Pakistan Today

AFG413C link

4 November 2017

  • 0-10 reported killed
  • 0-1 civilian reported killed

A local official reported an air strike killing ten Taliban insurgents in Ghazni province, but only said it was carried out by "security forces" making unclear if this was an Afghan or US strike. 

Mohammad Arif Noori, the spokesperson for the province's governor, told Pajhwok News the overnight strike destroyed one vehicle and several weapons. 

According to Pajhwok, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid denied a strike in Andar had hit the group - instead claiming it hit a house killing a woman.

We will include this here as a "C" strike - a placeholder that is not included in our strike and casualty tally. 

  • Type of strike: Possible US strike
  • Location: Andar district, Ghazni province
  • References: Pajhwok 

AFG413 link

4 November 2017

  • 15 reported killed

At least 15 members of Afghanistan's branch of Islamic State were killed in a drone strike in Nangarhar's Achin district, Attaullah Khogyani, the spokesman for provincial governor, told Xinhua.

“An unmanned air vehicle [drone] of NATO-led troops targeted a group of IS militants in Achin district of Nangarhar province on Saturday (November 4) evening as a result 15 fighters were killed and their hideout utterly destroyed,” Ataullah Khogiani, the spokesman for provincial governor, told Xinhua.

There were also reports of strikes in Achin district the following day which we have recorded above. However we have been unable to confirm these.

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

AFG412 link

4 November 2017

  • 10-80 reported killed, including 10-55 civilians
  • 0-10 civilians report injured

Residents and some local officials have alleged scores of civilians were killed in US strikes in Kunduz province, with the UN mission in Afghanistan finding credible reports that at least ten died following interviews with survivors, medics, elders and others. 

UNAMA's claims follow US assertions on November 6 that it found no evidence of civilian casualties. While Resolute Support confirmed operations had taken place in the area, it said no civilians had been killed. It also said that no hospitals or clinics received any victims following the incident. 

However, a body of evidence has since emerged, some of which has been obtained by the Bureau, that contradicts the US claims.

USForces Afghanistan on Twitter

USFOR-A investigated allegations of civilian casualties in Kunduz; no evidence of civilian casualties has been found https://t.co/i7E4cbztbf

UNAMA News on Twitter

UN interviews with multiple survivors, medics, elders & others give strong reason to believe civilians among victims #Afghanistan (2/4)

A series of tweets from the UN said it had found credible reports of at least ten civilians killed. The Bureau spoke to the director of a Kunduz hospital, who said that six injured civilians had been admitted from the Chardara strike. A New York Times reporter also saw six patients in the hospital, who said they were injured in the strike. 

The Bureau obtained a list of ten people, whom local residents say were civilians killed in the strike. One of our sources survived the attack. 

Two additional names were given but has only included in the list those unanimously cited by all sources. Residents also told the Bureau that a woman had been killed, but that they didn’t know her name. Each name on our list has been cited by three different sources as having died in the strike. Two sources told us that every name on the list was a civilian.

Muhammad Saeed, a 22-year-old builder who was receiving treatment for shrapnel wounds in his arms, legs and stomach, was one of our sources. He gave us a list of 12 people from his village who he said died in the attack. According to Saeed, those killed ranged in age from 15 or 16 to 70. He did not know the name of the woman killed, but ten of the names he gave us were confirmed by Arbab Abdul Majeed, a tribal elder, although there are small discrepancies between the ages given.

Estimates of the number of civilians killed vary widely following news of the strike. The New York Times spoke to residents and officials who said at least 13 civilians were killed. An Afghan aid worker told the Guardian 40 had died, including multiple women and children. Khosh Mohammad Nasratyar, a provincial council member, said around 55 civilians have been killed.

There was also much lower estimates. The deputy police chief of the district told the Bureau that only a “small number” of civilians were killed. Nematullah Temor, a spokesman for the provincial governor, meanwhile alleges that only a single civilian died and six others were injured. Ahmad Salem, a spokesperson for the Afghan commandos, told New York Times no civilians have been killed - which correlates with the US position. 

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The US position on the the civilian casualty allegations appears quite confused. 

US forces released this press release on November 6: 

United States Forces – Afghanistan (USFOR-A) has investigated allegations of civilian casualties in Kunduz province during the period of November 3 and 4; no evidence of civilian casualties has been found. 
We can confirm operations occurred in this area and numerous enemy combatants were killed, as also confirmed by Kunduz Governor Omarkhail and Ministry of Defense Spokesman Major General Dawlat Waziri.
The USFOR-A investigation was conducted independently and concluded that there were no civilian casualties. Specifically, no hospitals or clinics in the local area indicated treatment of people with wounds from armed conflict.
USFOR-A takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously and does its utmost to safeguard civilians and the people of Afghanistan, who only wish for peace and lasting security.Type of strike: US air or drone strike

Then, in the evening of 14 November, an RS spokesperson sent a statement to the Bureau, which appears to call into question the US's earlier position. The spokesperson explained some of the challenges of identifying civilians. 

The Bureau had asked RS for a clarification on the logic behind the US's statement that it had not killed civilians in the Kunduz strike. The spokesman said that they carry out "all forensic actions available" to investigate casualty claims when they arise, including personal interviews with local residents and visits to medical facilities. 

But he added:

"Our forces take every precaution to conduct all operations in a way that all civilian casualties are avoided. There are times when the insurgency forces civilians to take part in activities resembling that of an enemy combatant. It's these cases where it's possible civilians could be mistaken as members of the insurgency based on their offensive activities and therefore engaged by coalition air weapons team."

The statement is significant because the deputy police chief and a former district governor, alongside residents, say the civilians who were killed in Kunduz on 4 November had been forced by the Taliban to collect the bodies of insurgents killed in the previous night’s strikes. 

Saeed told the Bureau that on the morning of the strike, he and some other men left their village of Ghraw Kichlaq to go to nearby Qatl i Aam village. Qatl i Aam had been pummelled with bombardments the night before, the reverberations of which were felt in Saeed’s village. 

"The intensity of the bombing was so strong that we felt an earth quake," Saeed said, adding that it was the scariest night of his life.

Operations against the Taliban had been taking place in Chardara district. Sources say aerial attacks intensified on the night of 3 November, with scores of strikes raining down on multiple villages across the district. 

“The intensity of the bombing was so hard that everyone around believed that the whole Chardara district must be levelled and destroyed,” Abdul Ghafoor, a tribal elder, told the Bureau. “The bombardment was felt all night on Friday [November 3], in Kunduz city as well.” 

There has been different versions of events. Maulavi Abdullah, a member of the Kunduz provincial council, told the Bureau that the attack hit civilians who had returned to their villages on the morning of 4 November to see the damage the night’s strikes had caused. He says 18 civilians were killed and a further ten wounded.

The governor's spokesperson said that the civilian harm occurred when a strike hit a car carrying people to villages to evacuate Taliban casualties.

The Afghan Ministry of Defence has said it has tasked security commanders to probe the reports of civilian casualties.