Not Real News

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on April 23 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Delaware, Ohio. On Friday, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly claiming when Trump was in charge, 18 months went by in Afghanistan when “we didn’t lose one American soldier.”

CLAIM: When former President Donald Trump was in charge, 18 months went by in Afghanistan when “we didn’t lose one American soldier.”

THE FACTS: There is no year-and-half time frame under Trump’s presidency alone that no combat deaths among U.S. service members in Afghanistan were reported. But while speaking in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Trump claimed, “when I was in charge, in 18 months, we didn’t lose one American soldier.”

After mentioning that day’s deadly shooting in Buffalo, New York, in which a white gunman killed 10 Black people in a supermarket, Trump reiterated that “in 18 months in Afghanistan, we lost nobody.” He didn’t specify which 18-month period he was referencing, and a spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for clarification.

During Trump’s presidency, which ran from January 20, 2017, to January 20, 2021, there were 45 combat deaths among U.S. service members reported in Afghanistan, as well as 18 “non-hostile” deaths, according to the Pentagon’s Defense Casualty Analysis System. While there was an 18-month stretch that saw no combat, or “hostile,” deaths in Afghanistan — from early February 2020 to August 2021 — it was a time period that also included Biden’s presidency.

There were two combat deaths reported in early February 2020, when Trump was president, and none reported again until late August 2021, when an attack killed 13 U.S. troops amid the exit from Afghanistan, during Biden’s presidency. There were also several “non-hostile” deaths among U.S. service members in Afghanistan during that time frame, specifically in 2020.

Looking at other periods of Trump’s presidency also tells a different story than the one he offered. During the last, full 18 months before Trump left office in January 2021 — from July 2019 to December 2020 — there were 12 combat deaths reported. Nearly 2,500 U.S. service members died during the 20-year war.

— Associated Press writer Angelo Fichera in Philadelphia contributed this report.