Operation Anaconda

Operation Anaconda was a military operation that took place in early March 2002 as part of the War in Afghanistan. CIA paramilitary officers, working with their allies, attempted to destroy al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. The operation took place in the Shahi-Kot Valley and Arma Mountains southeast of Zormat.[6] This operation was the first large-scale battle in the post-2001 War in Afghanistan since the Battle of Tora Bora in December 2001. This was the first operation in the Afghanistan theater to involve a large number of U.S. forces participating in direct combat activities.

Operation Anaconda
Part of the War in Afghanistan

U.S. soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) prepare to dig into fighting positions during Operation Anaconda in March 2002.
DateMarch 1–18, 2002
Result Coalition victory, Taliban evacuates but suffers heavy casualties
 United States
 United Kingdom
 New Zealand
Taliban insurgents
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan[1]
Commanders and leaders
Franklin L. Hagenbeck
Rowan Tink
Saif-ur-Rehman Mansoor
Tohir Yo'ldosh[1]
30,000 1,000
Casualties and losses

7 Afghan fighters killed[2]

8 (7 in the Battle of Takur Ghar)[3]
82 wounded
2 MH-47 Chinook lost in Battle of Takur Ghar

500+ killed

United States claimed: 800 killed[4][5]

Between March 2 and March 16, 2002 1,700 airlifted U.S. troops and 1,000 pro-government Afghan militia battled between 300 and 1,000 al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters to obtain control of the valley. The Taliban and al-Qaeda forces fired mortars and heavy machine guns from entrenched positions in the caves and ridges of the mountainous terrain at U.S. forces attempting to secure the area. Afghan Taliban commander Maulavi Saif-ur-Rehman Mansoor later led Taliban reinforcements to join the battle. U.S. forces had estimated the strength of the rebels in the Shahi-Kot Valley at 150 to 200, but later information suggested the actual strength was of 500 to 1,000 fighters. The U.S. forces estimated they had killed at least 500 fighters over the duration of the battle, however journalists later noted that only 23 bodies were found – and critics suggested that after a couple days, the operation "was more driven by media obsession, than military necessity".[7]

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