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US military opens new, but risky front in Afghan air war

John Hannah
22nd November 2017 - Quoted by Agence France Presse

Washington: As the US military opens a new front in its air war in Afghanistan, targeting the Taliban’s poppy-processing factories and dropping thousands more bombs, experts are warning of the risk of alienating the local population.

The quickening tempo comes after President Donald Trump in August approved broad new powers for General John Nicholson, who commands US and Nato forces in Afghanistan.


For John Hannah, senior counsellor for the Foundation for Defence of Democracies and former national security adviser to vice president Dick Cheney, going after the Taliban’s narcotics empire is essential.

“Any strategy that hopes to succeed must include a major effort to attack the enemy’s most important revenue streams,” he told AFP, noting that US commanders have drawn lessons from the success of striking Daesh oil facilities and cash warehouses in Syria and Iraq.

Hannah warned that “without question” the uptick in bombing will result in greater civilian casualties.

“But if reinforced by all the other elements of the administration’s new strategy, a sustained escalation of US air support could put the Afghan army back on the offensive and, over time, start to reverse the tide of the war,” he said.


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afghanistan, military-affairs, sunni-jihadism, taliban