The Kabul Times

Afghan, U.S. forces expanding air strikes on Taliban financial resources

Afghan and U.S. officials say their joint operations to target Taliban income and financial resources and heroin factories have expanded as a result of which the Taliban group has suffered millions of dollars loss.
Related to the joint attacks launched by Afghan and US forces in the country, acting spokesperson to Ministry of Defense (MoD) Gen. Mohammad Radmanish told The Kabul Times that Taliban has suffered heavy financial losses.
According to the MoD acting spokesperson, Afghan and US forces have reached an agreement that financial resources and heroin factories of the Taliban group should be targeted and destroyed at any corner of Afghanistan.
In a report released by the US department of defense says nearly 154 air strikes have been conducted by Afghan and US air forces in various parts of the country during the first five months of the current year and as a result of all these air strikes, Taliban group has suffered millions of dollars in financial loss.
Speaking with the Pentagon press via teleconference on June 27, U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Lance Bunch, assistant deputy Air Commander for U.S. Forces to Afghanistan and deputy commander of the 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force to Afghanistan said that U.S. and Afghan airstrikes and other joint operations have repeatedly targeted the Taliban heroin factories and financial resources in various parts of Afghanistan.
“For our part, the airstrikes and other operations have hurt — hit them where it hurts:  in the wallet.  By all estimates, these air operations have taken over $45 million in revenue away from the Taliban in the strikes leading up to the cease-fire,” Gen. Bunch said.
He added that the Afghan National detection Unit’s raids, advised by the Drug Enforcement Administration, has seized or destroyed another $11 million from the Taliban’s illicit drug enterprise.
“I also want to point out during these 154 strikes, we have no credible allegations of civilian casualties.  Obviously I can’t discuss the specifics of the execution of our operations, but our airstrikes and raids are targeted very specifically in order to avoid civilian casualties while putting maximum financial pressure on the insurgents,” U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Lance Bunch stated.
He added that the entire purpose behind their air campaign was to exert pressure on Taliban to accept reconciliation, and helped them realize that peace talks were their best option. 
“We kept the pressure on them in the winter and this spring.  Before the recent cease-fire began, Operation Iron Tempest, the name of our air campaign, had destroyed 154 Taliban targets.  The Afghan Air Force also participated by conducting 19 strikes against Taliban revenue targets with their A-29 attack aircraft.  The targets destroyed included narcotics production, storage and trafficking locations, weapons and explosive caches, headquarters and staging areas,” Gen. Bunch briefed.
Meanwhile, the MoD spokesperson Brig. Gen. Radmanish assured the people that the joint U.S. and Afghan forces would fully try not to harm civilians during operations, asking the people not to let Taliban fighters in their areas and cooperate with Afghan national security forces.
Representatives of people in parliament by regarding the U.S. and Afghan joint military operations and airstrikes on financial resources and heroin factories of the Taliban group as good asked the joint forces should be careful for safety of Afghan civilians during their operations.
Suraya Raiszada

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