When our nation’s service members need some close air support to deal with a threat on the ground in a conflict zone, they have no better friend than the pilot of an A-10 Thunderbolt II Warthog. The sound of the aircraft’s awe-inspiring 30 mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun would make any military man cheer.
According to Funker 360, a squadron of A-10s were recently deployed to Afghanistan and they have been taking the fight to the Taliban and other terrorist outfits with devastating results — for the terrorists, that is.
Surveillance video from an overhead drone was recently released by the Defense Department that showed the fiery results of not one, but two strafing runs by an A-10 on a Taliban truck headed down a dirt road.
The swiftly moving vehicle all but disappeared in a cloud of smoke and dust as the massive shells from the gun landed all around it. Once the dust cleared, the shredded truck could be seen smoldering for a moment until the aircraft made a second pass which completely obliterated what was left of the truck.
Just one day prior to that video being released, Business Insider reported that a squadron of 12 A-10s had been deployed to Kandahar air base in Afghanistan for the first time since 2012.
Aside from providing close air support during routine counter-terrorism operations, the A-10s have also been tasked with targeting the Taliban’s revenue-producing drug facilities as part of a broader stepped-up air campaign.
“We’ve been taking the fight to the enemy for a while now,” stated U.S. Air Force Major General James Hecker. “Here in 2017 alone, we’ve dropped more bombs than over the last two years. Over 4,000 bombs have been used against the Taliban, against ISIS, etcetera.”
To be more specific, according to Air Force data, the total “number of weapons released” in Afghanistan in 2017 was 4,361, up from a total of 1,337 in 2016.
In a news release from the Department of Defense, it was revealed that in addition to the squadron of A-10s, the U.S. has also increased usage of the MQ-9 Reaper drone to provide advanced “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance,” as well as bombing runs from the venerable B-52 Stratofortress bomber.
“Afghanistan has become (U.S. Central Command’s) main effort, thanks to the recent successes in Iraq and Syria,” Hecker stated. “This has allowed Centcom to shift more assets our way, which will significantly improve our ability to assist the Afghans.”
As for the specific targeting of drug-production facilities operated by the Taliban and their allies, the general said, “We will take away their ability to wage war on the battlefield and brutally murder innocent civilians, like the recent cowardly acts that we witnessed in Kabul and Jalalabad.”
“With the current uplift in resources, we can decimate Taliban command-and-control nodes,” he added. “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.”
This is great news for those who are hopeful that a military victory may finally be within reach following 17 grueling years of lost blood and treasure on the battlefields of Afghanistan.
Also, it is safe to say that it is rather enjoyable to watch an A-10 with their fearsome armament utterly demolish our nation’s enemies.
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