17 years ago, the United States began its invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, officially launched to pursue al-Qaeda in general and Osama bin Laden in particular. Bin Laden is long since dead, but the US still has a massive war raging in Afghanistan, one which is going extremely poorly and shows no signs of ending.
On the war’s anniversary, fighting raged particularly hard, with 14 different provinces across Afghanistan reporting Taliban attacks, and many of them leading to substantial battles. All told, over 110 people were reported killed in 24 hours, roughly half of them Taliban, and the rest included 19 civilians and 35 Afghan soldiers.
Taliban attacks looked to secure territory gains in several districts, including strategically important districts along the Kabul-Kandahar highway.The main highway in Afghanistan, and one of the few major paved roads in the nation, officials say it is closed to traffic until fighting is resolved.
In the capital city, coordinated explosions caused a number of casualties. Further west, Taliban attacks seemed to be more random, provoking airstrikes in the Farah Province, where Afghan officials claimed that they had destroyed Taliban weapons caches.
These casualties add to the mounting casualties suffered by all sides this year in Afghanistan, the worst in several years. The Taliban controls more land now than at any time since before the US invasion, and as the US steadily escalates, the casualties only grow.