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B-52 bombers get new mission in Afghanistan

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: US Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein announced in a media release the other day that Boeing B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers have completed airstrikes against targets in Afghanistan for the first time in ten years.

He stated, “We got the B-52 back in the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq,” adding, “We have the B-52 contributing to a significant ground effort and employing weapons in close proximity of friendly troops who are under attack [and] who are preparing the battlefield in new ways.”

The aging bomber also flew two sorties in Afghanistan recently, dropping 27 bombs in two counter-terrorism strikes. The Air Force did not specify when B-52H operations resumed in Afghanistan.

The USAF has conducted more than 140 strikes and flown over 800 sorties since June, when US President Barack Obama ordered air power to be used more proactively in the country.

The resumption has come when the Taliban insurgents increased attacks in different parts of the country aimed at capturing districts of several provinces.

The resume of B-52 air operation is very important taking into account the current situation of the country. It would play key role in maintaining peace, security and as well as targeting the enemies of peace in Afghanistan.

Civilian casualties in the US airstrikes were a major cause of rift between the previous government and the Obama administration.

Two and half months ago, the US drone strike on Barmal district left a number of civilians killed and injured.

In June last year, ex-President Hamid Karzai strongly denounced the US drone strike on a funeral in the southeastern Khost province. A US drone strike on a funeral killed more than 30 civilians in Khost province.

The local officials in the province initially reported that all the killed people in the drone strike were militants. However, they later said that there might be a number of civilians among those killed in the strike.

Former high-ranking officials and analysts said that such attacks would result strong reactions of Afghans.

According to the Human Rights Commission, between 2006 and 2008, over 550 Afghan civilians were killed in mistaken raids. In all of these cases, HRW found there were concerns as to whether the attacking forces acted in accordance with their obligation under the laws of war to exercise constant care to spare the civilian population and to take all feasible precautions to minimize loss of civilian life.

 

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