The Pentagon says the military is too stretched to both fight insurgents and prepare for war with great world powers.
Four service members were wounded after a skirmish on Monday in Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan.
The airstrikes are part of what is expected to be a sustained campaign targeting a lucrative source of funding for the Taliban.
Three months after President Trump announced his approach to the 16-year Afghan war, a staffing shortage appears likely to persist.
The statistics were classified only once before in the nine years that the government’s watchdog for spending in Afghanistan has been issuing reports.
The assignment heralds a shift for the agency, which once viewed such a mission as risky and a drain on resources.