U.S. mil­i­tary dropped 751 bombs in Afghanistan in Septem­ber

Tehran Times - - WORLD IN FOCUS -

The United States mil­i­tary has dropped a to­tal of 751 bombs on Afghanistan in Septem­ber, the high­est monthly num­ber in the past seven years, ac­cord­ing to data by the U.S. Air Forces Cen­tral Com­mand.

The fig­ure in­di­cated a 50-per­cent in­crease from Au­gust (503 bombs), which the com­mand at­trib­uted to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s so-called “strat­egy to more proac­tively tar­get ex­trem­ist groups” in the coun­try.

Since 2010, the high­est num­ber of bombs dropped on Afghanistan by the U.S. mil­i­tary was 589 in Au­gust 2012, still over 150 less than Septem­ber 2017.

The US has dropped a to­tal 3,238 bombs in Afghanistan be­tween Jan­uary and Septem­ber this year, more than two times the 1,337 dropped the year be­fore.

“This in­crease can be at­trib­uted to the pres­i­dent’s strat­egy to more proac­tively tar­get ex­trem­ist groups that threaten the sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity of the Afghan peo­ple,” the report said.

Over­all, the U.S. had con­ducted a to­tal of 841 sor­ties were at least one bomb was dropped on tar­gets across Afghanistan, up from the 615 car­ried out last year.

The data only in­cluded airstrikes car­ried out by air­craft op­er­at­ing un­der the com­mand of Com­bined Forces Air Com­po­nent Com­man­der, an in­di­ca­tion that the ac­tual num­ber of the bombs dropped could be higher.

In a clear U-turn from his cam­paign pledges to end the now 16-year oc­cu­pa­tion of Afghanistan, Trump said in Au­gust that his views had changed since en­ter­ing the White House and that he would con­tinue the mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion “as long as we see de­ter­mi­na­tion and progress” in the South Asian coun­try.

As a first step, six F-16 Fight­ing Fal­con air­craft were added to Ba­gram Air Base while more B-52 bom­bard­ment mis­sions were ded­i­cated to Afghanistan, the report noted.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is also plan­ning to de­ploy roughly 3,000 more troops to Afghanistan. The United States al­ready has about 8,400 troops in the coun­try along­side an­other 5,000 from NATO forces.

The new U.S. am­bas­sador to the mil­i­tary al­liance said ear­lier this month that Wash­ing­ton was go­ing to ask NATO to con­trib­ute about 1,000 ex­tra troops to help in the bat­tle.

U.S. De­fense Sec­re­tary James Mat­tis told the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee last week that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s strat­egy in Afghanistan could be summed up in the acro­nym “R4+S,” which stands for “re­gion­al­ize, re­align, re­in­force, rec­on­cile and sus­tain.”

He also said that the Pen­tagon had re­placed pre­vi­ous rules of en­gage­ment with more ag­gres­sive ones, ar­gu­ing that the old ones “did not al­low us to em­ploy the air­power fully.”

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