For years, the American exit strategy from Afghanistan has relied on building and training that country’s military to fight the Taliban on its own. The U.S. has spent nearly $8 billion in the past decade to build up Afghanistan’s Air Force, but it is a work in progress.
Aircraft from the American-led coalition carry out roughly five times as many airstrike missions as the Afghans do, and Afghan aircraft have killed civilians at a higher rate.
“It would be a home run if we got to 60 to 65 percent” self-sufficiency for the Afghan Air Force, said a retired general who commanded the air training mission in 2013 and 2014.
Why it matters: Afghanistan could rely on American support for years, complicating President Trump’s efforts to withdraw U.S. troops.