US dropped more bombs on Afghanistan than Syria and Iraq last month
According to an Air Force report, American aircraft dropped 339 bombs in Afghanistan in March, compared to 294 in Iraq and Syria. In March of last year, US forces dropped 203 bombs on Afghanistan, and a whopping 3,878 on Iraq and Syria.
The lull in Syria and Iraq comes after Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) suffered major losses following Russian intervention in 2015, and US-led coalition bombings since 2014. Whereas the jihadists once controlled a vast swathe of land stretching from central Iraq to north-central Syria, its territory now is limited to a few isolated pockets of desert.
The remnants of IS are now laying low near the Iraq-Syria border. According to the report, coalition forces are now taking out the jihadists as they present themselves, “to ensure ISIS doesn't regain its footing or find safe haven.”
In Afghanistan, US airstrikes are targeting Taliban forces, still active almost 17 years after the US ‘War on Terror’ kicked off there in 2001. The Taliban are joined by the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) group, mostly Pakistani Taliban who have pledged loyalty to Islamic State.
A series of airstrikes hit IS-K targets in early March, and a barrage of strikes from B-52s, F-16s, A-10s and other aircraft hammered the Taliban for the rest of the month. The Air Force report claims that the strikes, which targeted command centers and narcotics factories and stockpiles, put a $40 million dent into Taliban coffers.
On March 22, the Afghan Air Force dropped a GBU-28 laser-guided bomb on a Taliban compound in Farah province. This bombing raid was the first of its kind from the AAF, who have been trained by US advisers.
While Afghanistan may be seeing more American bombs, last month’s figure is only a third of the 1,043 dropped in October 2010, at the height of the US troop surge.
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