The U.S. is still bombing the hell out of the Taliban and other militants despite ongoing peace talks and the expected kick off of intra-Afghan talks, the Military Times reported.
Just three days after Taliban announced on March 2 the resumption of operations against Afghan forces following a partial truce in late February, American warplanes were forced to bail out Afghan troops striking Taliban militants attempting to overrun a checkpoint.
American warplanes dropped 360 bombs on militants across Afghanistan during the month of February — it’s the second highest total for that month since U.S. Air Forces Central Command began tallying munitions releases.
The record number of munitions released during the month of February happened in 2018 with 469 bombs dropped by American aircraft. 2011 and 2019 are the only two other years during the past decade where U.S. aircraft manage to drop more than 300 munitions in February.
The U.S. has started 2020 with a bang, dropping a total of 775 bombs over the last two months, setting a pace reminiscent of the last two bloody years of fighting.
American warplanes dropped more than 14,000 munitions between 2018 and 2019 as the U.S. sought to pressure the Taliban to negotiate and end to the war.
The strike figures are high considering the winter months in Afghanistan often see a lull in fighting as Taliban and Afghan forces are hindered by bad weather and blocked passes.
The CENTCOM commander told senators Thursday that he would advise not reducing the U.S. footprint below 8,600 if Afghan forces are unable to defend the country.
The continued high pace of U.S. air strikes across Afghanistan is a warning sign that the Afghan Air Force is still not capable of carrying the mantle for providing close air support and precision strikes on Taliban and other militants.