Monday, October 29, 2007

US airstrikes up over 50% this year

USA Today reports that the US Air Force has increased close air support operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, this year over last.

Airstrikes are up in Afghanistan, too. Coalition planes have made 2,764 bombing runs this year, up from 1,770 last year. The figures don't include strikes by helicopter gunships. (link)
This represents an increase of some 56% over last year.

This comes despite Afghan President Karzai's repeated pleadings with US/NATO command to cut back or eliminate air strikes. (His most recent request was last week.)

The USA Today piece goes on:
The increasing use of air power also stems from improved accuracy and smaller munitions that allow commanders to launch airstrikes against insurgents who travel in small groups and sometimes hide among civilians.
Keep in mind that in fact, civilian deaths have increased this year over last. Note also that the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission summed up August thusly: "Two thirds of the 168 civilian deaths happened in military operations conducted by international forces against their opposition"

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