U.S. airstrikes on Taliban insurgents and Islamic State terrorists hit a nearly five-year high in April, Air Force Times reports.
The U.S. dropped 460 bombs in April, more than double the number dropped in the previous month. The military has not dropped that many bombs since August 2012, when there were seven times more U.S. troops present in the country. April also marked the first use of the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal against ISIS in Afghanistan, known as the “Mother Of All Bombs.”
The increase in bombs reportedly stems from a renewed U.S. focus on defeating ISIS in Afghanistan, and the start of the spring fighting season for the Taliban. The terrorist group is largely confined to a single province in Afghanistan but has proven resilient in the face of a nearly two-year effort by the U.S. and Afghan National Security Forces to oust it.
The renewed vigor of the fight in Afghanistan comes as President Donald Trump is considering a Pentagon proposal to increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Both U.S. commanders in Afghanistan say they need a couple more thousand troops to effectively train, advise, and assist the Afghan National Security Forces.
The proposal and bombing spike come as the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction noted April 30 that Afghan forces face “many problems: unsustainable casualties, temporary losses of provincial and district centers, weakness in logistics and other functions, illiteracy in the ranks, often corrupt or ineffective leadership, and over-reliance on highly trained special forces for routine missions.”
A United Nations May report also found that the Taliban exerts significant control over nearly one-third of the Afghan population and has increased the amount of territory under its control from 30 percent to 40 percent of the country.
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