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'The Taliban Have Nowhere to Hide': US Expands Air Campaign in Afghanistan

10 February 2018

"So now they have a constant eye to the sky, as we force them to engage our actual battlefield, where the Afghans are attacking from all sides".

The strikes also destroyed stolen Afghan National Army vehicles that were in the process of being converted to vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices.

The U.S. Air Force has released footage of a B-52 bomber dropping a large payload onto a Taliban training camp in Afghanistan. "Therefore, they inflict harm and suffering on innocent civilians", he added. "There will be no safe haven for any terrorist group bent on bringing harm and destruction to this country".

The sum includes some $13 billion for United States forces deployed in the country, $5 billion for the Afghan troops and $780 million for economic and logistic support, Randall Schriver, the assistant secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, told the Senate on Tuesday, as quoted by The Hill media outlet.

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The strikes are the latest in a series that began after President Donald Trump's new strategy in Afghanistan was announced in August. Afghans have been equipped since then with new aircraft and most strikes in recent months have been carried out by Afghan pilots, Hecker said. "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".

The Taliban stronghold of Helmand is the top opium-producing province in Afghanistan, the world's chief supplier of the illegal drug and its heroin derivative.

"Ongoing strikes in Helmand continue to degrade Taliban revenue sources and safe havens".

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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Neither U.S. officials nor the U.S. -backed coalition have offered details on the identity of attacking forces. About 100 of the attackers were then killed in a counter-strike, an American military official said.

Under President Trump, the USA military has launched a record number of airstrikes against terrorist groups such as the Taliban and its alleged rival the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).

Army Gen. John Nicholson, the senior US military commander in Afghanistan, said in the release that there will be no haven in Afghanistan for any terrorist group and that the Taliban has "nowhere to hide". The U.S. -led military coalition in Afghanistan has rarely focused its efforts there, though it has occasionally targeted the Taliban and the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based terrorist group affiliated with it, in the province.

China's Muslim-majority Xinjiang province borders both Afghanistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, a region claimed by Islamabad, Beijing, and their rival New Delhi.

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'The Taliban Have Nowhere to Hide': US Expands Air Campaign in Afghanistan