Last year was a year of “mixed results” for Afghan forces as they lead the fight for the first time, with the country making advances in mission planning but still suffering from continued problems in handling crisis, said Operation Resolute Support spokesman Army Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner. Afghan forces were able to apply lessons learned from one operation to the next, and were able to better integrate their own air support and artillery. However, the forces are still struggling to respond to crises, such as surprise Taliban attacks, said Shoffner. The Afghan Army needs more time to get into position, to stabilize areas that have been attacked, and must focus less on operations, such as maintaining checkpoints. This “remains one of their weaknesses, and one of the areas they have to focus on in 2016,” he said. “The Taliban did make temporary gains” in 2015, but were unable to hold or govern ground it had taken, Shoffner added. (Watch video of the briefing.)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.