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Nangarhar Deadliest Province for US Forces in Past Year

Nangarhar Province, along Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan, was the deadliest place in the world for US troops over the last year, according to reports.

Since March, US warplanes have conducted hundreds of strikes and American special forces have carried out hundreds more tactical operations on the ground in the province.

Nangarhar is one of the few places Americans have been routinely accompanying Afghan forces into battle. One-third of the 21 US servicemembers killed in combat last year died there, more than in any other single spot where troops were fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Niger.

Combat deaths were far rarer in 2017 than at the height of the wars in Iraq - in 2007 - and Afghanistan - in 2010 - but the recent uptick in Nangarhar could foreshadow a rise in American bloodshed in the country as the US escalates the fighting in its longest war.

Last year's combat deaths in Nangarhar all followed the intensification of a counterterrorism campaign there that's been putting US troops alongside Afghan units on the front lines of the battle with a resilient Daesh. The group has taken root there in recent years, where the Taliban also operate, making it a three-sided war.

The US-led NATO mission is poised to follow suit elsewhere in Afghanistan by putting more advisers and their force protection troops with conventional Afghan tactical units battling the Taliban insurgency. 

A new campaign launched in the southern province of Helmand last month has already stepped up the fighting with airstrikes and special operations ground raids against the Taliban-linked drug trade there.

It's all part of the latest shift in the US strategy in Afghanistan, which President Donald Trump announced in August, giving American forces here wider leeway to attack Taliban insurgents and has sent several thousand more troops to support Afghan fighting units. 

There are around 14,000 US troops in the country this year, up from 11,000 through much of 2017.

Nangarhar Deadliest Province for US Forces in Past Year

The US military sustained its first death of the new year during a firefight in Achin district of Nangarhar province.

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Nangarhar Province, along Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan, was the deadliest place in the world for US troops over the last year, according to reports.

Since March, US warplanes have conducted hundreds of strikes and American special forces have carried out hundreds more tactical operations on the ground in the province.

Nangarhar is one of the few places Americans have been routinely accompanying Afghan forces into battle. One-third of the 21 US servicemembers killed in combat last year died there, more than in any other single spot where troops were fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Niger.

Combat deaths were far rarer in 2017 than at the height of the wars in Iraq - in 2007 - and Afghanistan - in 2010 - but the recent uptick in Nangarhar could foreshadow a rise in American bloodshed in the country as the US escalates the fighting in its longest war.

Last year's combat deaths in Nangarhar all followed the intensification of a counterterrorism campaign there that's been putting US troops alongside Afghan units on the front lines of the battle with a resilient Daesh. The group has taken root there in recent years, where the Taliban also operate, making it a three-sided war.

The US-led NATO mission is poised to follow suit elsewhere in Afghanistan by putting more advisers and their force protection troops with conventional Afghan tactical units battling the Taliban insurgency. 

A new campaign launched in the southern province of Helmand last month has already stepped up the fighting with airstrikes and special operations ground raids against the Taliban-linked drug trade there.

It's all part of the latest shift in the US strategy in Afghanistan, which President Donald Trump announced in August, giving American forces here wider leeway to attack Taliban insurgents and has sent several thousand more troops to support Afghan fighting units. 

There are around 14,000 US troops in the country this year, up from 11,000 through much of 2017.

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