President Trump's new Afghanistan strategy will see up to 4,000 additional troops deployed to fight the deadliest Taliban army to date in the now 16-year-old conflict. But very few of them will see ground combat. That's because the war is being fought mainly by Afghan soldiers on the ground, supported by U.S. airpower in the form of drones or F-16s.
VICE NEWS spent time with U.S. and Afghan forces as they try to beat back a Taliban resurgence that's seen the group now control or contest more territory in Afghanistan than at any time since the beginning of the war. We accompanied an Afghan-led counter-insurgency operation deep into Helmand province, where local forces fight day and night to push the Taliban back using heavy artillery and mine-clearance teams that dig out IEDs with their bare hands.
As top U.S. officials laud recent results on the battlefield, Afghan soldiers say the Taliban they’re fighting is stronger now than they’ve been in years.