Last month’s decision by the White House to loosen restrictions on airstrikes in occupied Afghanistan was quickly taken advantage of by Pentagon officials to dial up the number of strikes, and Air Force officials have indicated that they’ve gone even farther this month.
Indeed, not only did July see the most US airstrikes in Afghanistan of the entire year, but it saw the most airstrikes in any month since 2013. The rate of airstrikes continued to rise through the month, reaching a peak last week, with more than double the strikes launched the previous week.
With Taliban gains mounting across the country, and officials reporting the Taliban controlling more territory than at any time since the 2001 US invasion, the US is looking to ratchet up the attacks as a way to slow their momentum.
Whether it’s working or not is unclear so far, as the Taliban has seized more territory over the weekend, and there was no indication US airstrikes played any role in the fall of that district. There’s every indication that the strikes will continue to pick up, but no sign it’s changing Taliban strategy.