Air Operations Continue at High Tempo in Afghanistan

An F-15E Strike Eagle receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 28th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, on May 7, 2019, at an undisclosed location. Air Force photo by MSgt. Russ Scalf.

US airstrikes in Afghanistan saw a slight uptick in May compared to April, clocking in at the second-highest number of monthly airstrikes conducted in the country so far this year.

American aircraft in May expended 635 munitions—up from 548 in the prior month—from manned and unmanned aircraft, for a total of 2,646 airstrikes in Afghanistan in 2019, according to statistics Air Forces Central Command released Aug. 4.

The monthly total is the highest for a month of May since at least 2009, according to public strike tallies.

Between April and May, US forces also reported about 1,600 surveillance flights, 935 airlift and airdrop sorties, and 422 tanker sorties.

As of May 31, US aircraft had flown nearly 7,190 intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance sorties, along with about 1,560 tanker sorties and 4,570 airlift sorties in 2019.

All are on a pace to surpass last year’s levels as Afghanistan entered its heaviest fighting season of the year.

Meanwhile, air operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria continued to slow.

In May, US and coalition aircraft expended 54 munitions in Operation Inherent Resolve, the fewest since the war began and a steep drop-off from April’s 90 strikes.