B-52 Bomber Drops Record Number of Bombs on Taliban Base
10 February, 2018, 08:54 | Author: Diane Mills
The plan calls for bumping up the number of US troops there to as many as 15,000 and giving new authority to USA commanders to strike the Taliban in an effort to force the militant group to eventually negotiate a truce with the Afghan government.
"The Taliban can not win on the battlefield, therefore they inflict harm and suffering on innocent civilians", Nicholson said.
"U.S. and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces will pursue and destroy all terrorist elements that seek to undermine Afghanistan or use its territory as a safe haven", Gresback said in an email.
In August, US President Donald Trump announced a new Afghanistan strategy, in which he pledged to continue US support for the Afghan government and military in their fight against the ongoing militant insurgency aggravated by an unstable political, social and security situation.
US forces have remained as part of a NATO-led coalition ever since, although active combat operations were turned over to Afghan forces in 2014, and global troop levels have fallen from a peak of more than 100,000 to about 16,000. "There will be no safe haven for any terrorist group bent on bringing harm and destruction to this country". "That means we can strike at the heart of training camps, where they brainwash young men to strap on a suicide vest to kill themselves and their fellow Afghans who are working to rebuild the country".
United States Forces-Afghanistan said in a statement that the strikes targeted Taliban training bases and stolen Afghan National Army vehicles which were being converted into auto bombs.
The Taliban stronghold of Helmand is the top opium-producing province in Afghanistan, the world's chief supplier of the illegal drug and its heroin derivative.
The bombings hit Taliban training facilities in Badakhshan province and destroyed vehicles that the US military said the Taliban took from the Afghan National Army and were turning into vehicle-borne explosive devices.
In total, "24 precision-guided munitions were dropped, the most ever launched by a B-52". The Taliban actually is not on the State Department's list of designated terrorist groups, though it often has carried out attacks on US troops and other Americans.
Nevertheless, both groups continue to get stronger and expand their influence in Afghanistan.
During a separate hearing that day held by the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Dr. Seth Jones from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) told lawmakers that Pentagon data shows "there has been a slight increase in Taliban control or influence of Afghanistan's population".
Gen. James Hecker said the drawdown of major operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has enabled U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, to again prioritize the 16-year war in Afghanistan. That goal has been pursued by US commanders in Afghanistan for much of the past 16-plus years, without success.
US officials hope that China can use its influence to persuade Pakistan to take action against terrorist groups and bring the Afghan Taliban to the peace negotiation table, indicated Jeff Smith, an expert at the Heritage Foundation when testifying before the House panel on Tuesday.
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