Task Force 373
The unit became prominent when the clandestine operations of the unit were brought into the public domain by the release of the Afghan War Diary on Wikileaks on 25 July 2010. It has been claimed that the unit is stationed at Camp Marmal, the German field base in Mazar-e-Sharif.
The leaked information shows that Task Force 373 uses at least three bases in Afghanistan, in Kabul, Kandahar and Khost. Although it works alongside special forces from Afghanistan and other coalition nations, it appears to be drawing its troops primarily from the U.S. Special Operations, among others the 7th Special Forces Group, 160th SOAR, Navy SEALs, & MARSOC Marines. It is loosely based on the JSOC task forces such as Task Force 121, Task Force 145, Task Force 20, Task Force 6-26, and Task Force 88.
It has been reported that this unit's mission is to "deactivate" suspected senior Taliban, by either killing or capturing them. During certain missions prisoners have been taken, information contained in The War Logs includes at least 62 instances of detainee transfers where the source of the detainee is stated as being "TF 373".
In an article datelined 25 July 2010, the online guardian.co.uk news daily reported that "In many cases, the unit has set out to seize a target for internment, but in others it has simply killed them without attempting to capture. The logs reveal that TF 373 has also killed civilian men, women and children and even Afghan police officers who have strayed into its path." The newspaper report also stated that "Details of more than 2,000 senior figures from the Taliban and al-Qaida are held on a "kill or capture" list, known as JPEL, the joint prioritised/zed effects list." Secrecy of operations is a major concern of TF 373 and often operations are not discussed even after the fact with coalition allies. Allegations of extrajudicial killing have raised questions about the legality of the operations.
The New York Times confirmed the existence of TF 373 and its work in connection with a kill or capture list but gave a lower number, "about 70," for the number of targets on the list. "These missions, which have been stepped up under the Obama administration, claim notable successes, but have sometimes gone wrong, killing civilians and stoking Afghan resentment."
- Davies, Nick (25 July 2010). "Afghanistan war logs: Task Force 373 – special forces hunting top Taliban". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
- Gebauer, Matthias; Goetz, John; Hoyng, Hans; Koelbl, Susanne; Rosenbach, Marcel; Schmitz, Gregor Peter (26 July 2010). "US Elite Unit Could Create Political Fallout for Berlin". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
- Afghanistan war logs: Task Force 373 – special forces hunting top Taliban
- Fantz, Ashley; Lister, Tim (26 July 2010). "WikiLeaks shines spotlight on mysterious Task Force 373". CNN. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
- C. J. Chivers, Carlotta Gall, Andrew W. Lehren, Mark Mazzetti, Jane Perlez, and Eric Schmitt, Jacob Harris, Alan McLean (25 July 2010). "View Is Bleaker Than Official Portrayal of War in Afghanistan". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 July 2010.