US to deploy 800 aviation troops to Afghanistan

US-aviation-troops-AfghanistanKABUL: The United States will deploy at least 800 soldiers from an aviation unit to Afghanistan in a bid to support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), it has been reported.

According to Washington based Stars and Stripes newspaper, the unit will utilize Blackhawks, Chinooks and Apache helicopters with a primary mission of supporting Afghan military efforts.

The soldiers belong to 1st Combat Aviation Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley.

Lt. Col. Kimeisha McCullum, a division spokeswoman, said soldiers can expect medical evacuation and logistical support missions, but declined to say whether U.S. troops will play a role in close air support or training their Afghan crewmember counterparts.

“The brigade has trained long and hard for this important mission, and the men and women of this great unit are prepared and ready,” Maj. Gen. Wayne W. Grigsby Jr., the commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division, said in a prepared statement about the deployment.

The deployment comes amid violence threatening to further destabilize the NATO operation in Afghanistan.

In the meantime the US President Barack Obama earlier approved a broader role for the US forces in Afghanistan to support the Afghan forces in their fight against terrorism by conducting airstrikes.

The US forces in Afghanistan are regularly targeting the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group as well as the Taliban militants in the country. -KP

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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