US Forces unveil new strategy in Afghanistan to curb Afghan Taliban

US Forces unveil new strategy in Afghanistan to curb Afghan Taliban

KABUL - T*he US Forces in Afghanistan on Sunday released video footage that shows Taliban drug factories being bombed in Farah and Nimroz provinces last week. *

According to a US Forces statement, the airstrikes were carried out last week in cooperation with the Afghan Air Force (AAF).

The US Forces said in the statement 11 Taliban narcotics production facilities in Farah and Nimroz provinces were targeted, as US Forces and the Afghan National Defense and Security forces expand counter-revenue efforts against the Taliban beyond Helmand and southern Afghanistan.

The precision airstrikes, conducted by US F-16s, A-10s and MQ-9s, were the first in western Afghanistan in support of the counter-revenue campaign designed to degrade the Taliban’s primary means of funding its operations – narcotic production, read the statement.

"The Taliban will have no safe havens. We will continue to exploit their networks and decimate their ability to develop narcotics," said Maj. Gen. James Hecker, commander, 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan.

"They have become a criminal organization that profits from selling drugs and using those funds to conduct operations that maim and kill Afghans. By cutting off the Taliban’s economic lifelines, we also reduce their ability to continue these terrorist activities,” he added.

Afghan interior ministry meanwhile said these airstrikes are aimed at eradicating income sources for insurgents.

“In recent months all income sources of the Afghan people’s enemies have been under Afghan forces attacks from air and land,” interior ministry’s deputy spokesman Nusrat Rahimi said.

A number of senators meanwhile said efforts should be increased to destroy these drug factories and address the drug addiction problem in the country.

“Bombing insurgents sources of income are the biggest and most significant ones. Because such bombings will make them weak in terms of finances and that will decrease their fighting ability,” senator Haji Abdul Rahim said.

According to the US Forces, the Taliban counter-revenue campaign, which began in November 2017, has continued without pause through the winter, impacting narcotics processing facilities that generate an estimated $200 million USD in revenue annually for the Taliban.

Overall, since November 2017, the campaign has conducted 75 strikes against narcotics production facilities in Afghanistan and continues to remove revenue from the Taliban criminal network. The counter-revenue campaign continues to demonstrate the US and ANDSF’s collective resolve to fight terrorism and bring stability and peace to Afghanistan, the US Forces’ statement read.

“We will continue to help the Afghan security forces to send a clear message to the Taliban: they will not win on the battlefield,” Hecker said.