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US Strike in Afghanistan Kills More Than 70 Taliban Leaders

US Strike in Afghanistan Kills More Than 70 Taliban Leaders

The U.S. military forces have conducted successful air strikes this month in Afghanistan that have killed up to 70 Taliban terrorists so far, according to a Pentagon announcement on Wednesday. 

Starting May 17, the U.S. forces deployed drone strikes and bombing raids for 10 days.

On May 24, dozens of Taliban leaders met in the Musa Qala district of Afghanistan, where the U.S. military deployed a precision strike killing at least 50 Taliban terrorists.
“The structure was a known meeting location for prominent Taliban leaders,” said the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan in a press release. “Strikes like this one not only degrade Taliban operations but also give our partners the ability to maintain continuous pressure against a weakened enemy.”

The military used its M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, known as the “Commander’s Sniper Rifle” to complete the deadly strike.

“After some great intelligence work by Marines led by Brig. Gen. Ben Watson, they tracked 50 of them to a meeting at Musa Qala and struck them with HIMARS rockets, killing dozens of enemy leaders,” said Army Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. “By killing leaders, we will achieve a disruptive effect in Helmand. I would not call it ‘strategic significance,’ but it definitely has a significant local significance, in terms of the fight in southern Afghanistan.”

 
The strike will be a significant blow to the terrorist organization, which currently controls about 40 percent of Afghanistan.

“These strikes represent one of the largest blows to Taliban leadership in the last year,” said  Nicholson. “The cumulative effects of which will be felt nationwide for quite some time.”

The U.S. forces are still identifying the Taliban leaders killed, but the Taliban’s deputy shadow governor for Helmand province is believed to be among the dead.

 
“Helmand has been the financial engine of the insurgency. The Taliban draws 60 percent of their revenue from narcotics (and) criminal activity,” said Nicholson.

“Twenty other Taliban leaders were killed in air strikes earlier this month by drones and Air Force A-10 Warthog jets based in neighboring Kandahar, which arrived earlier this year along with thousands of additional American troops,” writes Fox News. “During a Pentagon press conference from his office in Kabul Wednesday, Army Gen. John Nicholson told reporters the strikes would disrupt the insurgent group the U.S. military has been fighting for more than 16 years.”

But the military’s work is far from over.

“National and international leaders have been clear — victory in Afghanistan will be a political reconciliation,” said Nicholson. “As we continue the season of fighting and talking, we will continue to increase pressure on the Taliban and remain vigilant to opportunities for negotiated peace.”

There are now 15,000 troops in Afghanistan. President Donald Trump doubled the number when he took office. Last month, the U.S. military deployed the second highest number of airstrikes dropped in the last six and a half years. 

The U.S. military is also aiming to destroy the terrorist group’s cash flow and drug trade by attacking the country’s opium fields. 

Once Trump took 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 Wall Street Journal.

Now, the Taliban has no place to hide.

But the terrorist group continues to deploy attacks. 

 
On Wednesday, the U.S.-backed Afghan security forces stopped an attempted suicide bombing at the Interior Ministry. One Afghan policeman was killed and five others were wounded.

But Taliban attacks have decreased by 30 percent between February and April compared to the five-year average. 

Author’s note: This is the result of Trump’s major policy change. The military is working smarter, not harder. The loss of the senior leaders will put even more pressure on the Taliban. Things are heating up there, but perhaps eventually the war will actually end, instead of the stalemate we have had for way too many years.

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