2019–2020 Kunar offensive

Kunar offensive (May 2019 – March 2020) was a major offensive by Taliban forces against Islamic State in Kunar province which led to conquer of their territorial stronghold and death or surrender of most IS forces. Terror cells however remained active in the area.

2019–2020 Kunar offensive
Part of the War in Afghanistan (2001–2021)
Approximate map of the offensive
DateMay – November 2019
February – March 2020

Taliban victory

  • Taliban conquer IS-KP strongholds in Kunar province
  • Terror cells remain active



 United States

 Islamic State

Commanders and leaders
Abdullah Orokzai
Casualties and losses
Hundreds killed and surrendered


In April of May 2019 government forces and Taliban signed a deal in Kunar province which led to abolition of roadblocks and allowed both sides to pass through territories controlled by other side.[1]

In May 2019 Taliban went on offensive against the Taliban attacking their bases in Manogai and Chapa Dara districts, advancing from Laghman in the north, while simultaneously Taliban and local uprising forces from Chapa Dara district attacked parts of Korengal valley. Taliban managed to take control of those areas. From the south through Dara-ye Nur, Maulawi Asadullah (Taliban shadow district governor for Nurgal district) and his forces continued to advance towards Mazar Dara. Further Taliban advances on Dewagal valley were stopped by American airstrikes which struck both Taliban and ISKP forces leading to 50-80 IS fighters being killed and around 100 injured. 40 ISKP fighters surrendered to government forces in May 2019. Later that month group of foreign fighters arrived in the area to aid Islamic State. The group moved to Chalas and Kalaigal villages.[1]

In mid-June 2019 Taliban launched offensive against IS-KP forces in Degal village of Chapa Dara district. After week of fighting they cleared the district. In the same month they attacked two bases in Korengal and Kalaigal clearing them of IS fighters. On 23 August IS-KP leader Mawlawi Basir surrendered along with 110 of his fighters.[1]

In late October 2019 Taliban advanced through Narang-Badel and Chawkai district towards Dewagal taking a few villages in the area. U.S. against conducted airstrikes against both Taliban and IS-KP forces. Mawlawi Khadem and Mawlawi Bashir commanders along with dozens of Islamic State fighters were killed in the airstrike. Due to airstrikes Taliban withdrew from Dewagal towards Badel and Korengal vallyes. Heavy snowfalls from December 2019 to February 2020 stopped further advances.[1]

In late February 2020 Taliban resumed advances on Dewagal valley with help of U.S. airstrikes which this time only targeted IS-KP fighters. As a result of the strikes multiple IS commanders were killed including Qari Sayed, Mawlawi Sharafuddin, Sheikh Attaullah, Mawlawi Halimi, Sheikh Khetab and Haji Musa. Hundreds of fighters surrender to the government and were transferred to Asadabad.[1] Between 3 and 4 March heavy clashes were reportedly ongoing in Mazar Dara (Nurgal), Dewagal Dara (Chawkay), and Shoraik and Kalaigal areas (Dara-ePech). 7,000 people were displaced as a result of clashes in Nurgal district.[2]

On 14 March Taliban forces claimed that as a result of 14-day offensive they have cleared entire Kunar province from Khorasan forces. They also claimed that 114 IS members surrendered to Taliban while 100 fled. U.S. officials claimed that dozens of Islamic State fighters also surrendered to government forces.[3]

After retaking Dewagal, Mazar and Badel valley Taliban burned down houses of IS-KP commanders and executed at least seven Islamic State fighters in Dewagal valley. They also arrested several tribal elders who cooperated with the enemy.[1]


While as a result of the offensive IS-KP military presence disappeared from the area, they remained active underground operating several terror cells in Dewagal, Badel and Quro valley.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Ali, Obaid; Gharani, Khalid (3 March 2021). "Hit from Many Sides (2): The demise of ISKP in Kunar".
  2. ^ Afghanistan: Update on the situation in Kunar Province - Flash Update (09 March 2020), 9 March 2022
  3. ^ Seldin, Jeff (20 March 2020). "US Admits Taliban Offensive Is Whittling IS's Grip on Afghanistan". Voice of America.