Afghans Plead With US To Bring ‘The Warthog’ Back To Battle

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

Afghan officials have asked the U.S. military to bring back the A-10 Thunderbolt to the battlefield, Military Times reports.

The A-10 is a beloved aircraft of the U.S. military in the counter-terrorism fight with a storied history of success in the earlier years of the Iraq and Afghan wars. The U.S. military used the aircraft extensively in the air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in recent years. The general winding up of operations against ISIS’s core caliphate may free up air assets for the renewed U.S. push in Afghanistan.

President Donald Trump has issued new rules of engagement in the fight against the Taliban, allowing offensive airstrikes on narcotics labs and insurgent sanctuary areas. Terrorists reportedly fear the A-10, in particular the tell-tale sound of its cannons.

“This will be a very long winter for the Taliban, as we will continue to disrupt their revenue sources again and again and again,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Lance Bunch, future operations director for Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, told Pentagon reporters Tuesday.

“We have eliminated 25 narcotics processing labs from the Taliban inventory.  This equates to almost $80 million of drug money eliminated from the kingpins’ pockets, while denying over $16 million of direct revenue to their Taliban partners,” he added.

The air campaign is meant to pressure the Taliban into coming to the negotiating table with the Afghan government. “We’ll be here as long as it takes until you change your mind,” Secretary of State Tillerson said. The Taliban, however, have little reason to negotiate after banner years in the Afghan war. The group controls more territory than at any time since the U.S. invasion in 2001 along with nearly a third of the Afghan population.

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