Marines Kill More than 70 Taliban Leaders as the Fight Ramps Up in Afghanistan

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May 31, 2018May 31, 2018

Last week in a rocket attack in the Helmand Province, U.S. Marines killed more than 50 Taliban commanders as the activity in Afghanistan saw an increase.

According to Fox News, one of those leaders killed was the deputy shadow governor of Helmand. Taliban leaders from six other provinces across Afghanistan were also killed in the strike.

Earlier in the month, twenty more Taliban leaders were killed through a series of airstrikes, bringing the total of more than 70 killed in the past few weeks. The Marines used drones and Air Force A-10 Warthog jets to carry out their missions.

The United States currently has a small force operating in Afghanistan, far fewer than the 100,000 deployed during former President Obama’s watch, although Under President Trump, the number of soldiers has doubled to 15,000.

In just the last month, the U.S. military has launched the second highest number of airstrikes in the past six and a half years in Afghanistan. That April total falls at 562, which is more than the airstrikes in Iraq and Syria combined over the previous two months. According to Fox News, several of those strikes have targeted Taliban drug labs.

In what has become the nation’s longest war, which has lasted 16 years, the U.S. military has striven to quash Taliban activity that has pursued a path to destroy both military and civilian targets.

On Wednesday, a Taliban suicide bomber attempted an attack at the Interior Ministry. One Afghan policeman was killed and five others were wounded, but fortunately no civilians were killed.

“The Afghan guards immediately recognized these as old uniforms, called on the terrorists to exit the vehicle so they could be checked out, and at that point the fighting started,” said Army General John Nicholson.

Johnson’s appearance before Pentagon reporters was his first in six months. Of the airstrikes that took out the Taliban leaders, Nicholson said that though the attack would make a significant impact in the immediate area of Helmand, it may not disrupt the overall war that much.

“I would not call it strategic significance, but it definitively has a significant local significance in terms of the fight in southern Afghanistan,” he said.

That fight, according to Nicholson, has helped decimate the Helmand financial insurgency, said Nicholson, where “60 percent of their revenue from narcotics (and) criminal activity” derive, he said.

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