Mapping Allegations of US War Crimes in Afghanistan

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May 14, 2013 Worldview 1 Satellite Imagery


The information in this report is based on Matthieu Aikins' reports for Rolling Stone and The Nation, as well as investigations carried by the UN. Photos of victims and their burial sites were provided by relatives and the Afghan police. Photos of COP Nerkh and Zikria Kandahari are taken from publicly available Facebook posts. Learn more about this report in a post by Aikins at The Nation.

Matthieu Aikins is a Schell Fellow at The Nation Institute, and has reported on Afghanistan since 2008 for Harper's, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, and The New Yorker.

SITU Research is an interdisciplinary practice working in design, visualization and spatial analysis. Focused on developing innovative strategies and new tools, SITU Research leverages a strong foundation in architecture, materials and digital instrumentation to collaborate with and contribute to a diverse array of fields. A core value of SITU Research is the applied nature of its work - the studio seeks to address challenges grounded in urgent contemporary spatial issues - be they social, scientific or artistic.

"The A-Team Killings," Rolling Stone, November 6, 2013.

"The US May Have Gone on a Murder Spree in Afghanistan: Did the Army Cover it Up?," The Nation, September 2, 2015.
"Afghanistan, Left in the Dark: Failures of Accountability for Civilian Casualties Caused by International Military Operations in Afghanistan," Amnesty International, August 11, 2014.
"U.S. Army Reopens Criminal Inquiry Into Afghan Civilians’ Deaths," The New York Times, August 24, 2015.
"2013 Mid-Year Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict," The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, July 31, 2013.


Between April 6 and June 4, 2013, ten sets of human remains were found at six different sites, ranging from approximately 50 to 500 meters outside of the perimeter of COP Nerkh. The remains were documented and identified as human by the Afghan forensic medical service. Because they lacked DNA testing facilities, identification of the remains was done on the basis of clothing, watches, and other items identified by family members. Without DNA testing, the identities of the remains cannot be definitively established, but family members believe that the ten sets of remains correspond to the ten missing men allegedly detained by the Special Forces.

The site locations identified on this map are approximate and are based on eyewitness testimony, video evidence, and a visit to COP Nerkh in September 2013.

Click on the sites for more information.

Satellite imagery was acquired from the WorldView-1 satellite for May 14, 2013.