The United States conducted several airstrikes against Taliban forces in support of Afghan government forces targeting captured equipment and artillery. A number of the strikes took place in the strategic province of Kandahar.

These were the first airstrikes since General Scott Miller, the commander of Operation Resolute Support, left the country as part of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan which is slated to be complete by August 31. The authority for these airstrikes is now in the hands of General Frank McKenzie, the commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

The airstrikes signal that the U.S. will support its Afghan allies, at least until the American withdrawal is complete. After that, however, it is unclear whether the U.S. will continue its support.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby did not confirm any specifics, including the type of aircraft or specific location of the target. Nevertheless, he said that “In the last several days we have acted, through airstrikes, to support the [Afghan National Defense and Security Forces] (ANDSF).”

When he was asked about Navy F-18 airstrikes in Kandahar he refused to go into the details of the strikes.

MQ-9 Reaper drone over Afghanistan. (File photo)

Airstrikes Against the Taliban as Situation Deteriorates

After Kirby’s press conference, another defense official filled in the blanks and told news media that on Wednesday and Thursday, the United States conducted a total of more than four airstrikes. At least two of the strikes were to destroy military equipment, including an artillery piece and a vehicle that the U.S had left for the Afghan troops but which had been captured by the Taliban. These airstrikes included at least one strike in the southern province of Kandahar, according to the official.

In the past month, the U.S. has conducted several drone strikes in support of the Afghan government. 

CENTCOM announced on Tuesday that the U.S. has “completed more than 95 [percent] of the entire withdrawal process.” As the U.S.-led coalition withdraws, the Taliban have increased the attacks on Afghan forces and have swept across many provinces.