The strong majority of US airstrikes in Afghanistan have hit ISIS targets in counter terrorism operations not al Qaeda, the top spokesman for Operation Resolute Support said. US Army Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland, the deputy chief of staff for communication for the Resolute Support Mission, said the US has conducted about 230 airstrikes since the beginning of 2016 as part of the ongoing counter terrorism operation in Afghanistan. Of those, about two-thirds to three-quarters hit ISIS, with the remaining strikes focused on al Qaeda. The US still does have the authority to target Taliban fighters to support Afghan operations, but those are “defensive fires,” and statistics were not readily available, Cleveland said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.