The U.S. military has launched an aerial bombing strategy to hit the Taliban where it really hurts, it’s wallet.
Since November, U.S. aircraft have conducted 113 strikes in an effort to stop opium production as part of a strategy to “go after the Taliban in a way that they had never been pressured before,” according to Lance Bunch, U.S. Air Force brigadier general.
“In a typical recent strike, a pair of F-16s took off from Bagram Air Field and flew south to Helmand province, the heart of Afghan poppy production. The target was a drug lab housed in a mud-walled compound perhaps 100 feet by 100 feet, according to the military,” writes The Wall Street Journal. “Once airborne, the lead pilot was able to use electronic sensors to spot buildings and piles of plants in the open yard. Both planes dropped bombs on the compound. “The buildings were completely destroyed,” said the pilot.”
The Taliban gets about 60 percent of its funding for its terrorist activities from Afghanistan’s opium supply chain.
The U.S. military is aiming to destroy the terrorist group’s cash flow and drug trade, therefore destroying the Taliban.
The U.S. has followed a similar strategy in the past against ISIS in Iraq and Syria by targeting the oil refineries.
Once President Donald Trump entered office, he changed the restrictions on what the U.S. military could do operationally in Afghanistan.
Under Obama, the U.S. aircraft could only target militants as a defense from threats or attacks on allied troops. But Trump’s new bombing policy allows U.S. aircraft to attack militants “wherever they are found, and attempt to destroy Taliban weapons caches, command facilities and revenue sources,” according to the WSJ.
The Taliban has no place to hide now.
“Anywhere in the country where they previously thought they felt safe or could have freedom of movement, we now had the authorities to go and target,” said Bunch.
The Taliban is still very much a threat in Afghanistan with bombings and attacks occurring weekly. The terrorist organization controls about 40 percent of the country.
“Innocent people are being killed left and right, bombing in the middle of children, in the middle of families, bombing, killing all over Afghanistan,” said Trump in February. “So we don’t want to talk with the Taliban. There may be a time, but it’s going to be a long time.”
Author’s note: We have been saying all along to “follow the money” and destroy the poppy growers, then you will destroy the Taliban. Not to mention, opioid abuse has been declared a serious public health issue by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There have been more than 183,000 deaths in the U.S. due to opioid overdose from the years of 1999 to 2015. And guess where a lot of these drugs came from? With this military strategy, we can kill two birds with one stone.