The Christian Science Monitor

Trump's Afghan policy causing a rethink on both sides in conflict

In the Afghanistan war’s 2015 and 2016 fighting seasons, Taliban insurgents made significant gains, capturing the provincial capital Kunduz each year before losing it again, and seizing an increasing number of district centers.

The systematic Taliban advances also threatened a number of other provincial capitals, as their reach extended across one-third of Afghanistan, a setback for American aims in the longest war in United States history.

But the 2017 fighting season has been different, analysts say: No provincial capitals have fallen, and strategic Taliban gains have been limited, largely due to a surge in air strikes initiated soon after the Trump administration took office in January.

“The Taliban definitely registered that something has changed, and had a bit of a reset,” says a Western official in Kabul.

The US “brought back the B-52s with a vengeance,” says the official, who is not authorized to speak to the media and asked not to

Can Kabul capitalize?Plan light on non-military goalsBoost to Afghan air powerA Taliban vow to fight

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