The U.S. military set a seven-year high of bombing missions against terrorist groups in Afghanistan during the month of September, Military Times reports.
September saw a 50 percent jump in the number of munitions dropped from the month of August and the largest number seen since 2010 when tens of thousands of U.S. troops were in the country. The large increase in munitions follows President Donald Trump’s Aug. 21 address pledging a continued U.S. presence in Afghanistan until conditions on the ground will allow for a U.S. withdrawal.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis immediately authorized the deployment of an additional 3,000 troops to Afghanistan after the address and revealed before Congress Oct. 3 that new rules of engagement would be put in place against Taliban insurgents. These new rules allow airstrikes on Taliban militants anywhere in the country regardless of whether they are targeting U.S. or Afghan National Security Forces.
Former President Barack Obama restricted U.S. strikes to targeting Taliban insurgents only when they were attacking U.S. or Afghan Security Forces. This allowed militants to maintain safe havens throughout the country, knowing they were free of danger of U.S. warplanes.
The U.S. is not only using its own munitions against the Taliban but also delivering capabilities to the Afghan National Security Forces. Top U.S. commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson pledged Saturday that “a tidal wave of air power is on the horizon” after the delivery of dozens of UH-60 black hawk helicopters.
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