Besides destroying insurgent hideouts, the new campaign also aims at eliminating Taliban training facilities and support networks, the United States military added.
In August, US President Donald Trump announced a new Afghanistan strategy, in which he pledged to continue US support for the Afghan government and military in their fight against the ongoing militant insurgency aggravated by an unstable political, social and security situation.
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The larger payloads are not the only things the Taliban have to worry about.
The Pentagon said strikes also targeted stolen Afghan National Army vehicles that were being converted into vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, or VBIEDs. The strikes targeted training camps, "preventing the planning and rehearsal of terrorist acts near the Afghan border with China and Tajikistan", U.S. military officials said in a news release.
"This behind-the-scenes legwork allows us to hit the Taliban where it hurts most, whether it's command-and-control.or their pocketbooks", Hecker said.
Air Force Major General James Hecker told reporters at the Pentagon in a video teleconference from Kabul that on February 1 the U.S. Central Command officially designated Afghanistan as its "main effort", supplanting the counter-IS campaign in Iraq and Syria.
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The aircraft has played a leading role in Air Force operations for decades, and was recently reconfigured with a conventional rotary launcher to increase its reach and lethality, the United States military added. The airstrike was meant to "destroy insurgent revenue sources, training facilities, and support networks". Some safe havens in Helmand have also been destroyed. Afghans have been equipped since then with new aircraft and most strikes in recent months have been carried out by Afghan pilots, Hecker said.
Late a year ago, Gen. Nicholson said the Taliban has three choices, "Reconcile [with the Afghan government], live in irrelevance, or die". "There will be no safe haven for any terrorist group bent on bringing harm and destruction to this country".
According to this statement, the Taliban continue to fail in their attempts to recapture lost territory in other areas. "Therefore, they inflict harm and suffering on innocent civilians", he added. "That means we can strike at the heart of training camps, where they brainwash young men to strap on a suicide vest to kill themselves and their fellow Afghans who are working to rebuild the country".
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