July 26, 2018
WASHINGTON — The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan is on pace this year to drop a record number of bombs, according to Pentagon data.
Through the first six months of 2018, the U.S. and its allies dropped 2,911 weapons on Afghanistan, according to data from the U.S. Air Force Central Command.
That is nearly twice the number of bombs dropped on Afghanistan in the same period last year, and over 700 more than the previous high set in 2011 at the height of the war.
The expanded bombing comes after President Donald Trump announced an open-ended military commitment to Afghanistan in August 2017. Afghanistan saw a brief wave of optimism in June, when the Afghan government and the Taliban successfully held a three-day cease-fire during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Though the U.S. honored the cease-fire by suspending “offensive strikes” against the Taliban for over half the month, the coalition still dropped 572 bombs in June — the most dropped in any month of June of the war, according to Pentagon data.
Washington and Kabul are fighting not only the Taliban, but also Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate, known as ISIS-Khorasan, as well as groups such as al-Qaida and other regional and international militant groups.
The Trump administration is reported to be exploring direct peace talks with the Taliban. But U.S. officials have also said any talks must include the Afghan government.
The U.S. has approximately 14,000 service members in Afghanistan. Most are in training and advisory roles, though some are involved in a counterterrorism mission.
Top U.S. military officials acknowledge the conflict remains a stalemate, almost 17 years after it began.