US helos kill more than 30 Taliban fighters in Kunar


Map of attacks in Afghanistan. Kunar province is the second-most violent in Afghanistan. Map from ANSO.

US helicopters smashed a large Taliban unit operating in the northeastern Afghan border province of Kunar today.

A US air weapons team, which is typically made up of Apache attack helicopters, opened fire on “a large number of armed insurgents” after spotting them operating in the open in the Ghaziabad district, the International Security Assistance Force stated in a press release.

The air weapons team initially engaged a group of Taliban fighters while patrolling the district, killing several. “After the initial firing, a large number of armed individuals emerged from a nearby building and were subsequently targeted and killed by the air weapons team,” ISAF stated.

The initial attack sparked a four-hour-long battle with Taliban fighters in the area. ISAF estimated that more than 30 insurgents were killed during the engagement, while no civilians were reported to have been killed.

ISAF also said that several more Taliban fighters were killed in the Bar Kunar district of Kunar province after insurgents attacked an outpost with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

Kunar is the second-most violent province in Afghanistan, according to data released by the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office. In 2010, there were 1,467 attacks in Kunar, compared to 1,540 recorded attacks in Ghazni, 1,387 attacks in Helmand, and 1,162 attacks in Kandahar.

Since the pullout of US and Afghan troops from remote outposts that began in late 2009, several districts in Kunar and the neighboring province of Nuristan have been contested. Al Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, and other allied terror groups are known to have moved into Kunar and Nuristan due to the security vacuum, and have expanded attacks throughout the region.

Kunar province is a known sanctuary for al Qaeda and allied terror groups. The presence of al Qaeda cells has been detected in the districts of Pech, Shaikal Shate, Sarkani, Dangam, Asmar, Asadabad, Shigal, and Marawana; or eight of Kunar’s 15 districts, according to an investigation by The Long War Journal.

A senior al Qaeda commander named Qari Zia Rahman operates in Kunar and Nuristan, and commands military forces on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border. Qari Zia recently kidnapped 21 Afghan tribal leaders and threatened to kill them if members of their families and tribes continued to cooperate with the Afghan government and Coalition forces. Six tribal leaders have since been freed.

Qari Zia has also established suicide training camps for women, and has used female suicide bombers on both sides of the border. Over the past year, Qari Zai has been the target of several ISAF and Afghan special operations raids.

For more information on Qari Zia Rahman, see LWJ reports, Al Qaeda leader kidnaps 21 Afghan tribal leaders in Kunar, and US hunts wanted Taliban and al Qaeda commander in Kunar.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Nic says:

    ” Since the pullout of US and Afghan troops from remote outposts that began in late 2009, several districts in Kunar and the neighboring province of Nuristan have been contested. Al Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, and other allied terror groups are known to have moved into Kunar and Nuristan due to the security vacuum, and have expanded attacks throughout the region. ”
    A well know consequence of not having enough boots on the ground. Our “street cred” must be lower than the Titanic in the areas we have abandoned. The logic of “go into win or don’t go in” seems to be running its natural course in this situation.

  • chris says:

    looking at past news of the Kunar and nuristan area and reading and watching the documentary Restrepo about the 10th mountains efforts and failures there. Its hard to imagine holding the ground there without a massive relocation of the population and a massive troop increase. how do you win hearts and minds there ?
    Air assualts and the Reapers are the easiest I guess. It would be nice to degrade or wipe out the ablity of the enemy to use Cell phones or web on border or in the tribal lands.Then they’d have to move info by hand or land lines and we could get intel and targets of opportunity

  • jp says:

    Ghaziabad District shares a border with Nuristan, not a huge a local population, and it is between some areas we used to have influence.
    10th Mountain had a success in 2006-07 by putting COBs in the Pech, Korngal, Waygal, and Kunar Valleys. There was local support, but knowledge of AO and relationships had to re established by each unit that rotated into the area. Many of the COBs have been closed; Bela, Ranch House, the KOP, Camdesh etc. I feel sorry for the locals that their support.

  • Exactly says:

    Since it’s a well known fact Pakistan has always played a double game with the US so they can receive billions of dollars to carry out their terrorist agenda it seems to me it’s time to switch gears.
    Like upping the ante (NUCLEAR ANIALATION)

  • The_Pacifist says:

    “A well know consequence of not having enough boots on the ground.”

    Well, we did have quite a few boots on the ground in Iraq…. Perhaps they should have been in Afghanistan instead.


  • john says:

    dont be silly. There wasnt enough to go around for Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time. After winning in Iraq there is now a pullout from Irag to Afghanistan. That was the consequence of downsizing the army. Just when you need the army, it is not there anymore. Hence the buildup again that took years to achieve.

  • JT says:

    The initial efforts in Afghanistan were celebrated by virtually all in the US as having a local Afghan face on it and only small numbers of US boots on the ground. The air support of the northern alliance and the subsequent victory ousting the Taliban from power was HUGELY celebrated.
    Osama slipped out of the country, barely avoiding the special ops forces working with the Northern Aliance.
    AFTER that (well into 2002), preps started for the Iraq effort, to start in 2003. If anyone is posting here in efforts to claim that the eye was off the ball in any manner should be reminded to provide a chronology of events to support such statements.
    For most arguments of the “eye on the ball” variety, a chronology of events can not be used to support the argument.

  • blert says:

    The USMC and the US Army were NEVER downsized after 911.

  • Villiger says:

    JT, depends on what in your metaphor was the ‘ball’. If the ball was OBL, which to me it was even moreso at that time, then the eye was off the ball.

  • Infidel4LIFE says:

    The Delta operators were NOT working with Northern Alliance militia, these “fighters” were bought by the US to help storm Tora Bora. At one point, the fighters turned their guns on Delta. They were playing both sides, and as for Iraq we should have cleaned up the mess in a-stan first. Why did we invade Iraq?

  • blert says:

    You can put the matter to Congress.
    The war was authorized by them and had over twenty cited reasons for military action.
    But the central point was to save the UN and its Security Council.
    Sanctions were failing — terribly we now know from Food of Oil corruption.
    If Saddam could blow off the UN Security Council then foreign affairs would devolve to the 1930’s League of Nations futilities.
    The UN would be dead and despots would not face group sanction of any kind.
    A failure in the collective defense last time killed about 100,000,000 souls. The next time, who knows?

  • crusader says:

    we invaded iraq because they had weapons of mass destruction…
    weapons that would never have been released on americans…
    other weapons, small arms(the modern weapons of mass destruction) were however fired upon americans in iraq…
    the irony of it all is that the weapons of mass destruction (the small arms) were used on americans to look for the supposedly weapons of mass destruction that were never there in the first place…
    did the troops from iraq go to afgh right away or were they home for thanksgiving?

  • JT says:

    Villager –
    I could not disagree more. Osama did slip away. But it was before the Iraq war. You cannot use the Iraq war as a reason for not getting Osama in the aftermath of 9-11.
    If you want to say that, later, during the Iraq War, some resources used in Iraq could have been used to look for Osama, you’re right. But what has been the excuse over the total of the past 8 years or so? The effort continues, I’m sure.
    By the way, my post was prompted by the Pacifist, who not only ignores chronology, but abuses hindsight in his comments.

  • JT says:

    “that were never there in the first place… .”
    Statements like this have been thrown around freely with many not pointing out the obvious: It is incorrect.
    The question that all serious minded countries faced was whether Saddam still had WMDs. It turned out he did not. The intel was wrong.
    However, the question was whether he STILL had the chemical and biological weapons that he HAD USED AGAINST HIS OWN PEOPLE and against Iran.
    There was an added question about whether he had obtained any nuclear weapons. He had not and he did never have any of that particular type of WMD in the first place.
    However, if you want to be taken seriously, I suggest not spreading incorrect information. If done intentionally, it is defined as a lie.

  • Charu says:

    What happened in Iraq is in the past. There is no point decrying the foolish political leadership that got us there, or trying to defend their obvious ignorance and, worse, their ineptitude. The fact is that we are now fighting the only war that always mattered after 9-11; the one that will have serious consequences to our security if we lose.
    Going by even greater shortsightedness and ineptitude shown by the Pakistanis, it is a matter of time before they fall to the Taliban and Al Qaeda gets their grubby hands on some nuclear material. This will require a concerted global action the likes of which we last saw in WWII; a Western alliance with Russia and India to clear up the Talib-Pak mess. China will be a wild card in this because of its shared border in Pakistani Kashmir. It is unlikely, but if it meddles in this war then it could result in opening up a wider war in the Pacific and pull Japan into the fray. In the end democracies always triumph over totalitarian forces

  • The_Pacifist says:

    “don’t be silly. There wasn’t enough to go around for Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time.”–Why did we go into Iraq without first taking care of OBL and Afghanistan? Why did we go into Iraq to begin with? My point is that the resources spent in Iraq could have been used in Afghanistan to finish the job. Instead, they were wasted in Iraq because Congress and the world got hoodwinked by shoddy intelligence and a personal vendetta.

    It’s kind of curious that, of the countries identified as being the “Axis of Evil”, the only one invaded did not have WMDs.

    It’s also curious that Pakistan wasn’t included in the Axis of Evil since they do have WMDs and are more likely than not hiding those responsible for 9/11.

    I’d have to find the article I read, but it indicated we were spending $10B to $13B per month in Iraq at the height of the war.

    I just found this: //

    and this: //

    Take those numbers for what they are worth, but let’s not spend anything on health care, or to help the American people… I wonder how much we spent to rebuild Iraq compared to how much we spent to rebuild New Orleans…



    I suppose the problem with rebuilding New Orleans is that Halliburton wouldn’t make as much compared to rebuilding Iraq… Too much oversight in the U.S.


  • Nick says:

    We won in Iraq? By what incredibly low standard are you measuring a win?

  • Villiger says:

    Iraq would’ve blown over with Tunisia, Egypt and whatever other people’s answers are now blowing in the wind.
    Relative to what one is confronted with in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the US invaded Iraq to find a can of Baygon cockroach spray in Saddam’s presidential palace bathroom. The real WMD, still mushrooming, IS for a FACT in Pakistan–no speculation required here.
    Its just that the timing of Iraq was all wrong.
    As for the UN, what does it have to say about PAK’s actual, not imaginary, stockpile?

  • Glenmore says:

    TOLO News reports:
    “Residents of Kunar province said 53 civilians including women and children were killed and more than 30 others were wounded Thursday night during an operation carried out by foreign forces in Ghazi Abad district of the province.”
    You knew such a ‘report’ would eventually appear. And be believed by a great many.

  • Infidel4LIFE says:

    Was it worth destabilizing the region, the KIA and wounded, the money? Hindsight is 20/20, at the time not many were even thinking about it. We are gonna be there way longer than we are led to believe.

  • James says:

    As far as our “Iraq adventure” is concerned, (or “misadventure” depending on how you see it) remember the saying that “hindsight is always 20/20.”
    Seriously, I believe that the initial strategy in Afghanistan was jinxed right from the get go (i.e., “the Afghans have to lead the way”). Our troops had one hand tied behind their backs at least at that point.
    AQ was not the enemy of the “good” Afghans, the Taliban were.
    Who’s to say that the foreign terrorist thugs that ended up on the streets of Baghdad as a result of the Iraq invasion would not have ended up on the streets of Kabul had they not have gone into Iraq?
    It’s worth emphasizing again, “hindsight is always 20/20.”
    I agree at least somewhat that Iraq turned out to be a distraction. But, Iraq is now water under the bridge.
    The WOT has to evolve and will at least involve some modifications and corrections.
    As a certain former president once said, (believe me, I am no fan of his, even though my family is): “It’s better we fight them over there than we have to fight them over here.”

  • Ming the Merciless says:

    “Dont be silly”
    Is there another way for a pacifist than be idiotic?
    Pacifists are the tyrant’s vanguard.
    Read your Sun Tzu again!

  • rob says:

    restrepo was not about 10th mt. it was about the 173rd. and 10th mt and 4th id were the main elements that withdrew from the korengal and pesh valleys after all the work that 173rd and 1 id did to make them more accessible.

  • blert says:

    The WMD is a propaganda canard.
    Congress authorized the invasion to ultimately save the UN and the Security Council.
    WMD were found — and then all intel was suppressed/censored.
    Even a SINGLE nerve gas round — of the type being discovered — if shipped to America could have killed thousands.
    And yes, we found them.
    Further, the experts debriefed the Iraqi experts and they flatly admitted that Saddam destroyed his nerve gas gear ONLY right in front of the invasion; and that they’d been tasked with hiding all of the blueprints / manuals in their own homes.
    We have those documents and they are CLASSIFIED.
    We kept finding toxic gas gear buried all over the Iraqi desert right through 2008! Items like spray tankage conformed to fit Saddam’s fighter-bombers. Poison gas being its only purpose.
    Our troops went in with full NBC at hand all the way to Bagdad. We intercepted Saddam calling upon his generals to launch chemical Scuds against us. All of this stuff is suppressed.
    Did you know that back in 1991 when we first repatriated Iraqi prisoners to Bagdad, Saddam machine gunned them down promptly after being de-planed? Yes he did!
    That bloody tale was suppressed. The fact that we could monitor the event in real time was CLASSIFIED.
    Saddam was told that any repetition would cause America to march on Bagdad — pronto. Naturally he caved in.
    The entire WMD not there campaign is agitprop for the purpose of political division within America. It doesn’t stand up. That the NY Times constantly runs with it does not make it true.

  • Ranger says:

    I will reply, in links, to everyone in general. Lest we forget…
    Saddam had all sorts of WMD capability. Question was simply what happened to it/where did it get move to/how much was strategically destroyed? Click them all folks. Step right up.
    Get the picture? And the ONLY reason his stockpiles were in the process of being reduced was because of our imminent invasion…it was his strategy…play innocent, go to ground, send the trained teams of saboteurs and terrorists (fedayeen and others) into action, activate his deal with the terrorists he’d already been working with, towards “Mutual Ends.”


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