FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims There Were Zero US Casualties In Afghanistan During The Last 18 Months of Donald Trump’s Administration

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Instagram claims there were no American casualties in Afghanistan during the last 18 months of former President Donald Trump’s presidency.


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A post shared by Evan Kilgore (@evankilgore)

Verdict: False

U.S. service members died in Afghanistan during the final year and a half of Trump’s administration, including eight combat deaths between July 2019 and December 2019 and four combat deaths in 2020. There were 11 overall U.S. casualties in Afghanistan in 2020.

Fact Check:

The claim circulated amid the U.S.’s efforts to evacuate its citizens, Afghan allies and others from Kabul after the Taliban took over Afghanistan. On Aug. 26, a suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport killed 13 U.S. service members and over 90 Afghan citizens, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The image, which shows a screen-grabbed tweet, reads in part, “Fact-Check There wasn’t a SINGLE American casualty in Afghanistan the last year and a half of the Trump admin.” In the caption, the Instagram post specified combat-related deaths. (RELATED: No, This Image Of Afghan Women Chained Together Is Not Real)

However, the claim made in the Instagram post doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. Statistics displayed on the Defense Casualty Analysis System, which is maintained by the Department of Defense, show American casualties in Afghanistan did occur between July 2019 and December 2020, Trump’s last full month in office.

Eight U.S. service members died in combat between July and December 2019, according to the Defense Casualty Analysis System. Army Sgt. 1st Class James Goble of New Jersey was the last U.S. combat death of 2019, CBS News reported. There were also four non-combat deaths in Afghanistan between July and December 2019, according to the Defense Casualty Analysis System. For the whole year, 23 U.S. service members died in Afghanistan.

A total of 11 members of the U.S. military died in Afghanistan in 2020. Of those 11 casualties, four were in combat, the Defense Casualty Analysis System shows. Two U.S. service members were killed in a roadside bomb attack in January of that year, according to USA Today, while two others, Sgt. 1st Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez and Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rey Rodriguez, died in an apparent “insider” attack in February 2020, ABC News reported.

The Aug. 26 suicide bombing in Kabul marked the deadliest day in Afghanistan for the U.S. military in a decade, according to NPR. iCasualties.com, a website that tracks casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, reports that a total of over 2,400 U.S. service members have died in Afghanistan since 2001.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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