In the three months since the Obama Administration gave forces in Afghanistan authority to strike ISIS even when they don’t pose a direct threat, the Pentagon says some 70-80 such airstrikes have been launched, with 70% to 80% of them in Nangarhar Province.
Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland talked up the matter of the airstrikes, saying they’d hugely decreased the ISIS footprint in Afghanistan, claiming at one point ISIS controlled 6-8 districts, and was now down to just 2-3.
That’s a huge amount of territory, and the first time the Pentagon has publicly confirmed ISIS controlling any districts in Afghanistan, let alone a number of them. Cleveland estimated around 1,000 ISIS fighters remain in Afghanistan.
At the same time, Gen. Cleveland insisted the ISIS fighters remain an ‘enormous threat’ to Afghanistan, and have the ability to quickly recover from the losses inflicted by the US airstrikes, insisting the US needs to keep attacking them.
The comments, then, boil down to the oft-repeated mantra of the Pentagon on Afghanistan, that the war is going “well” in some vague way, but needs to continue indefinitely otherwise things will become a disaster in short order.
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