In what appears to be the new escalation in Air War over Afghanistan by the newly appointed commander Gen. John Allen, United States Air Force has doubled its pounding on the Taliban in the last month (July). According to the stats of the U.S. military, there were a total of 652 attack runs in the month of July 2011 which translates into 20 sorties being performed per day – which are exactly twice than 10 attack runs a day reported back in July 2010.
The figures are really significant as last year, the 10 attack runs were being carried out right in the middle of Afghanistan’s fighting season, whereas the current scenario is quite different.
The increase in Air Operations over Afghanistan is being attributed to Gen. John Allen who recently got over command of the war in Afghanistan from Gen. David Petraeus. Petraeus made airstrikes a tool of absolute last resort in his tenure but the new commander does not seem to comply with Petraeus’s policies.
Gen. Allen has scaled up to all aerial/ground efforts to punish the Taliban as hard as possible which is evident from the recent developments in Afghanistan:
- US Special Forces now launch a dozen raids every night
- US Special Forces are killing/capturing 10 Taliban’s a day
- Surface-to-surface missiles are being used to clear Taliban out of Kandahar
- Tanks are being rolled in Helmand to crush the resistance
- Civilian homes are being leveled without apology for sheltering insurgents
Despite this ferocity, American military officials claim that the combination of better intelligence and the use of smart weapons have allowed only a 14% rise in civilian causalities. (The claim is supported by the figures compiled by the United Nations – 79 civilians dead this year so far)
The result of this current “Shock & Awe” is yet to come – whether it wipes out the Taliban once and for all or forces Mullah Omar to negotiate with President Karzai.