Moon of Alabama – Jan 27, 2020
Under the Trump administration U.S. air attacks in Afghanistan have sharply increased. But it now seems that the Taliban have acquired some means to counter them.
Last year the U.S. dropped a record number of bombs on Afghanistan leading to ever increasing casualties among civilians:
According to the Combined Forces Air Component Commander (CFACC) 2013-2019 Airpower Statistics released in late January, 7,423 missions flown in Afghanistan in 2019 resulted in weapons being released. There were more weapon releases in most months of the year than in any corresponding months since records were first released in 2009, with September recording the most for the year at 948.
The previous annual record was 7,362 set in 2018, and the last two years together have seen more weapon releases over Afghanistan than the combined number for 2012 through to 2017.
Twenty bombing strikes per day is a quite astonishing number. Many civilians get killed in this U.S. bombing campaign. The U.S. often seems not to know who it is hitting. This report from last week is typical:
A drone attack carried out by U.S. forces earlier this month in western Afghanistan that apparently targeted a splinter Taliban group also killed at least 10 civilians, including three women and three children, an Afghan rights official and a council member said Wednesday.
There was no immediate comment from the Afghan military or the U.S. forces. But Wakil Ahmad Karokhi, a provincial council member in Herat, said the Jan. 8 strike also killed the commander of a Taliban splinter group, known as Mullah Nangyalia, along with 15 other militants.
The commanders funeral the following day was held in the Herat provincial capital’s Guzargah neighborhood, and was attended by dozens of militants.
Karokhi criticized the strike as “huge mistake” saying the commander had been a useful buffer against the Taliban in Shindand district, taking up arms with his fighters against the insurgents “when no one else would do it” and leaving the area’s civilians in peace.
The U.S. military and its allies and Afghan proxies are not the only ones fighting. The Taliban can hit back at helicopters and planes and, judging from the number of recent air incidents, they now have found effective means to do so. Two days ago they destroyed another helicopter:
Drexluddin Spiveyzai @RisboLensky – 9:44 UTC · Jan 25, 2020
Helicopter hit by missile in Kajaki area of #Helmand 4 soldiers wounded via @TOLOnews #Afghanistan
Its #Moldova flag. Helicopter got hit pretty bad. True miracle there are no deaths
#Taliban took responsibility for shooting down of military helicopter in #Helmand #Afghanistan
This is the 4th helicopter that went down in January
Video from Kajaki
Four helicopter losses in one month is quite significant.
Earlier today there were reports that a civilian Afghan airliner had come down. Those turned out to be false. But a plane had indeed crashed in Ghazni province south of Kabul. It was a military one: