The US military has launched its first airstrikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan since President Barack Obama’s decision earlier this month to expand America’s involvement against the insurgents, US officials said Friday.
Officials said the strikes began in the last week and were against Taliban targets in the southern part of the country. But Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook declined to provide any details, citing “operational security.”
One senior US official said there have been “a couple” of airstrikes, but the US does not want to provide more information because there may be more strikes in that area, including missions with Afghan forces who could be accompanied by US advisers.
The official was not authorized to discuss the operations publicly, so spoke on condition of anonymity.
The US military spokesman in Kabul, Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland, said US forces “have conducted a limited number of strikes under these new authorities” but it is “too early to quantify the effects achieved.”
The strikes “are only being used where they may help the Afghans achieve a strategic effect,” Cleveland said.
US officials made it clear when they announced the new authority to hit Taliban targets once again that they would only be used in selective operations that were deemed to have a strategic and important effect on the fight. Cook said the strikes “hit their intended targets.”
He added the strikes were “part of an ongoing operation that, again, the goal of which would be a strategic effect on behalf of the Afghan forces that we are enabling, and that’s exactly what they were intended to be used for.”
Pressed for more details, Cook refused, saying “these are ongoing operations” and he does not want to be “telegraphing what’s to come to the enemy.”.. see more