By: Suraya Raiszada
Pentagon figures show that US air forces have conducted as many as 1,100 air strikes against terrorists in Afghanistan in a single month.
Almost 40 strikes hit Afghanistan every day in September, the new Pentagon figures show, working out as more than 1,100 over the month, a significant rise.
In the new figures released by Pentagon the other day said the number of US strikes has been increasing in recent months, but this latest jump is dramatic. There were 1,113 strikes in September compared with 810 strikes in August, and 537 in July.
According to US officials for defense, the air strikes have been conducted against IS-Khurasan, Daesh, al Qaeda and all other terrorist groups operating in Afghanistaan.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan ministry of defense has considered air strikes conducted by US air forces as effective for clearing up areas from presence of armed opponent groups.
“US-led NATO forces are providing close air support to Afghan forces fighting various terrorist groups in the country,” said Rohullah Ahmadzai, a spokesperson to the ministry of defense.
Ahmadzai stressed that air strikes could be the most effective strikes conducted for clearing areas from presence of terrorist groups, adding that Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have increased their military operations against terrorist groups as most districts have been recently cleared from presence of terrorist groups and currently Afghan forces were controlling the districts taken back from Taliban fighters.
This comes after cancelation of peace talks which were continued for one year between US delegates led by Zalmay Khalilzad and representatives of the Taliban group.
Meanwhile, a number of Afghan military experts while considering increasing of air strikes against terrorist groups in the country said it is good to prefer to strengthen peace process rather than increase air strikes in the country.
“I think increasing of attacks and violence in the country has link with peace talks as peace talks are most complicated, but unfortunately Afghans are killed in both sides due to increasing of violence in the country,” said Atigullah Baryali, an Afghan military expert.
He believes that war is not the solution way; therefore, the government of Afghanistan and Taliban should pave the way for starting peace talks and end the ongoing war in the country.
Lawmakers in Afghanistan parliament by pointing to increasing air strikes against Taliban fighters in a number of provinces in the country say Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) should review their combat tactics in fight against terror in the country.
Nevertheless, for civilians on the ground, the deepening conflict comes at great cost. Recent UN figures show there were over 650 civilian casualties from US strikes in the first nine months of 2019, nearly double the number injured or killed in the same period last year.
The UN has said civilian casualties in general – not just from air strikes – have reached “unprecedented” levels in the past three months as violence across the country has increased.