B-52s again bombing targets in Afghanistan

b-52-stratofortress_009-ts600KABUL: American B-52 bombers have been flying continuous missions over Afghanistan for months to counter threats from Taliban and ISIS-linked terrorists, a report said on Thursday.

“The flights have been part of an existing surge in air support as the service says it is still looking at how best to contribute to President Donald Trump’s new US strategy,” The War Zone reported.

Over the past seven months, the B-52s have reportedly dropped over 800 weapons on Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS-K targets in support of US forces and the NATO-led coalition.

US Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT) was quoted as saying that an average of approximately 150 bombs were dropped every month. Directly attacking targets, the aircraft can also provide limited surveillance capabilities.

In an interview this year, Air Force Major General James Hecker, who runs the coalition air war in Afghanistan, said: “In essence, if we had 30 targets, we could hit 30 targets. It gives us a fairly large capability.”

US aircraft released more than 500 weapons over the country in August 2017 — the most since August 2012, when the figure reached almost 600. The bombers largely carpet-bombed enemy positions in the mountains around Tora Bora in December 2001.

In 2005, the US Air Force stopped the routine use of the B-52s over Afghanistan, but some additional missions are said to have occurred in subsequent years. Last year, the bombers briefly flew missions against ISIS-K before another apparent halt.

After President Trump rolled out his new strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia last month, the US military began reviewing possible options for expanding its operations.

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