After a brief three-day ceasefire in June, at the end of Ramadan, during which US airstrikes in Afghanistan were solely targeted against ISIS, the US resumed strikes against the Taliban. In July, this led to soaring numbers of strikes.
Central Command reported that 749 US sorties were flown in July, and 88 involved airstrikes. This is in both respects not only the highest number this year, but the highest of the entire decade. US airstrikes haven’t been at this level in a very long time.
Given the figures from 2018 only go up to July, it is also noteworthy that the number of weapon releases in US sorties for the year is nearly as high as 2017 already, and higher than every year before that since 2013. Since each month is a new record, 2018 is almost certain to surpass both.
This represents the combination of a surge ordered last August by President Trump, and the dwindling number of ISIS targets inside Iraq and Syria freeing up a number of US warplanes to move to Afghanistan, where targets are much more plentiful.
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