The U.S. is ramping up the war effort in Afghanistan as the greatly weakened ISIS becomes less of a priority.
“The U.S. Air Force has deployed A-10 Thunderbolt jets to Afghanistan for the first time in more than three years to provide close-air support for American and Afghan troops,” Fox News reported.
The Air Force will send 12 A-10 jets to Kandahar Airfield along with more MQ-9 Reaper drones and HH-60G helicopters to be used by special forces on combat search and rescue missions.
The U.S. military has dropped more bombs in Afghanistan in 2017 — the year President Donald Trump took office — than in 2012, when the U.S. military had nearly 100,000 troops there, according to Fox News.
“As we’ve applied increased pressure on the Taliban and their revenue sources with precision air power, we’ve gained considerable momentum in our effort to force them to reconcile or face defeat,” Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, the head of U.S. Air Forces Central Command, said in a statement to Fox News.
“As U.S. advisers move closer to the front lines in support of our Afghan partners, this additional air power will give them the decisive advantage necessary to advance with confidence,” he continued.
The U.S. military wants to employ a similar strategy that led to defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, attacking the Taliban’s major source of funding — their poppy crops. In the case of ISIS, it was oil.
The A-10 “Warthog” is known for its 30 mm Gatling gun, which is capable of firing 3,900 rounds per minute and taking out enemy forces at close range. The A-10 circles the battlefield at low altitudes and is protected by reinforced armor around the cockpit and a reinforced glass canopy.
“I happen to be a fan of the A-10,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told the Senate Armed Services Committee in December, according to Fox News.
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