|— Province —|
|• Total||4,339 km2 (1,675 sq mi)|
|• Density||95/km2 ( 250/sq mi)|
Kunar (Pashto: کونړ, Persian: کنر) is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the northeastern part of the country. Its capital is Asadabad. It is one of the four "N2KL" provinces (Nangarhar Province, Nuristan Province, Kunar Province and Laghman Province). N2KL is the designation used by US and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan for the rugged and very violent region along the Afghanistan–Pakistan border opposite Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Kunar is the center of the N2KL region.
Kunar province is located in the northeast of Afghanistan. It borders with Nangarhar Province to the south, Nuristan Province to the north, Laghman Province to the west and has a border with Pakistan in the east. The province covers an area of 4339 km2. Nearly nine tenths (86%) of the province is mountainous or semi mountainous terrain while one eighth (12%) of the area is made up of relatively flat land. The primary geographic features of the province are (1) the lower Hindu Kush mountains which form, (2) the Kunar Valley, and (3) the Kunar River which flows south along the north-south axis of the valley is a primary draining conduit for the Hindu Kush basin. The mountains, narrow valleys with steeps sides and river serve as formidable natural obstacles and have impacted all movement through the province throughout history. Even in the early 21st century movement on foot, with pack animals or with motorized vehicles is extremely limited and channeled due to the significant geographic restrictions.
Around 96% of the population of Kunar lives in rural districts while 4% lives in urban areas.
Military activity 
Alexander The Great passed through Kunar on his trek from Ancient Greece to India. He sent part of his troops to avoid the Khyber Pass over the Hindu Kush mountains and instead head up the Kunar river to other passes found at higher altitudes, deeper into the mountains to the North. These passes go through what today is the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Some ancient legends say that his troops are the source of some unusual tribes in the Nuristani region but others believe these to be only legends.
During the 19th century British military expeditions, the 20th century Soviet occupation, and the 21st century conflicts involving U.S., Afghan and NATO forces, Kunar has been a favoured spot of insurgent groups. Its impenetrable terrain, cave networks and border with the semi-autonomous Pakistani North-West Frontier Province provides significant advantages for unconventional warfare and militant groups. The province is informally known as "Enemy Central" and "Indian Country" by American and western armed forces serving in Afghanistan. Between January 2006 and March 2010 more than 65% of all insurgent incidents in the country occurred in Kunar.
Like many of the mountainous eastern provinces of Afghanistan, the groups involved in armed conflict vary greatly in strength and purpose. Native Taliban forces mingle with foreign Al-Qaeda fighters, while mujahadeen militias, such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, continue to operate as they did in the chaotic post-Soviet years. Another strong militia in the region is the Hezbi Islami faction of the late Mulavi Younas Khalis, who had his headquarters in neighbouring Nurestan Province.
Compounding the problems of the province is an extensive cross-border trade in contraband which includes lumber, semi-precious stones and other natural resources. This smuggling activity is often organized along tribal lines, and has led to intense deforestation in some areas. The rugged border area has many illegal and hidden crossing points making Kunar a high traffic route for illegal arms transporting, insurgent movement as well as other smuggling activities as mentioned above.
The province, relatively small compared to others, has among the highest concentration of both US and Afghan security forces. Special Operations Forces operate extensively throughout the area.
As of September 2011 the United States has awarded six Medals of Honor for action in Afghanistan. Four of these have been awarded for separate actions in Kunar province. Members of I Corps Artillery (deactivated and is now 65th Fires Brigade) of the Utah National Guard served as Embedded Training Teams (ETTs) while embedded with the Afghan National Army and U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division throughout Kunar Province. During this time, over 51% of the entire country's Troops In Contact engagements (TICs) took place in Kunar Province. The 1-14th Agriculture Development Team from the Illinois Army National Guard began working in Kunar in June 2011. ADTs from the California and Iowa National Guard have previously served in the province.
Operations in Kunar 
In 2005 Operation Red Wings set out with the intent to disrupt Anti-Coalition Militia (ACM) activity in the region in order to further aid the stabilization efforts of the region for the upcoming September 18, 2005 Afghan National Parliamentary Elections. Anti-Coalition Militia activity in the region was carried out at the time most notably by a small group led by a local man (from Nangarhar Province) who had aspirations of regional Islamic fundamentalist prominence named Ahmad Shah, hence he and his small group would be one of the primary targets of the operation. A team of four Navy SEALs, tasked for surveillance and reconnaissance of a group of structures known to be used by Ahmad Shah and his men, fell into an ambush by Shah and his group just hours after inserting by fastrope from an MH-47 helicopter in the area. Three of the four SEALs were killed in the ambush; a quick reaction force helicopter sent in for their aid was subsequently shot down with an RPG-7 rocket propelled grenade by one of Shah's men, 19 American Forces were killed when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down, representing the second biggest loss of American forces since their invasion of the country.
According to Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Osama bin Laden was most likely hiding in Kunar Province in the spring and summer of 2009: "According to our information Osama is in Afghanistan, probably Kunar, as most of the activities against Pakistan are being directed from Kunar.”
Bin Laden was later found and killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan contrary to what the Pakistani government had previously stated.
Reconstruction and international assistance 
Asadabad hosts both an American Provincial Reconstruction Team at nearby Forward Operating Base Wright and a UNAMA development office. Additionally, representatives of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), US State and Agriculture Departments advise the local government. A US Army Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) was deployed to the province in late 2009. Successive ADTs continue to serve in the province.
In media 
The book "Siren's Song: The Allure of War" was published in 2012. It depicts the story of an American Platoon at COP Honaker Miracle, Pesh valley, Kunar Province.
The districts in Kunar Province as of March 2004 are:
|Asadabad||29,177||Is the Capital of Kunar Province, which includes Asadabad and adjacent towns, immediately surrounding the confluence of the Pech and Kunar Rivers|
|Dara-I-Pech||44,958||Commonly known as the Pech District or Manogai District|
|Ghaziabad||Ghaziabad||7,500||formerly northern Bar Kunar District|
|Narang Aw Badil||27,937|
|Shaigal Aw Shiltal||33,781||formed from northeastern Dangam District|
|Wata Pur||28,778||formed from northwestern Asadabad District|
See also 
- "Kunar Provincial profile" Afghanistan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), as of 7 October 2010
- Afghanistan's Provinces – Kunar at NPS
- MacMannis, Colonel Andrew (USMC) and Scott, Major Robert (USMC), Operation Red Wings: A Joint Failure in Unity of Command, Pages 14-20, Marine Corps Association / Marine Corps Gazette, retrieved 2012-02-05
- Darack, Ed (2010). Victory Point: Operations Red Wings and Whalers - The Marine Corps' Battle for Freedom in Afghanistan. Penguin Group. ISBN 978-0-425-23259-0.
- Darack, Ed (December 14, 2010), "Operation Red Wings: What Really Happened?", Marine Corps Gazette (January 2011) (Marinecorpsgazette-digital.com): 62–65, retrieved 2011-06-13
- Christina Lamb, "Stop bombing us: Osama isn’t here, says Pakistan" The Sunday Times, July 12, 2009
- "Afghanistan Administrative Divisions" map, March 2007, Afghanistan Information Management Services (AIMS)
- Afghanistan Geographic & Thematic Layers
||Nuristan Province||Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan|
|Laghman Province||Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan|