U.S. fighter pilots leading the military base in Afghanistan are preparing for more air attacks after President Donald Trump announced plans for a new war strategy last week.
Trump said officials will increase the air campaign against Taliban insurgents, in yet another quest adding to the rise of strikes brought out since the President took office in January.
In Monday’s conference, Trump reiterated the U.S. would ultimately ‘win’ the several year-long war on Taliban, a suggestion fighter pilots complied to but were leery of.
U.S. Gen. John Nicholson, top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, speaks during a joint press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017
Nicholson’s remarks come after President Trump announced his new strategy for Afghanistan, which involves maintaining a U.S. military presence in the country
The strategy also included a campaign vow to end America’s longest war
Afghan Border Police personnel walk through an outpost damaged in an airstrike in the Nad Ali district of Helmand province on June 10, 2017
Following the alert, commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, said he would amp up security for all troops.
He also commented that it’s time the U.S. comes to common grounds with Taliban for the best interest of all parties.
‘We are determined to pursue the goal of a political settlement … As these terrorist groups realize that they cannot win, they will see that their best option is to pursue peace,’ Nicholson said in a conference.
‘We know the enemy fears air power,’ he added, when speaking of the matter to Reuters reporters in Kabul.
White House officials believe reducing territorial gains by the Taliban will be a key goal of the new proposal.
U.S. soldiers walk at the site of a Taliban suicide attack in Kandahar on August 2, 2017
U.S. soldiers keep watch near the wreckage of their vehicle at the site of a Taliban suicide attack in Kandahar on August 2, 2017
Afghan security forces keep watch near the site of U.S. airstrike on a civilian vehicle in Haska Mina district Nangarhar province on August 12, 2017
Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai said Trump’s quest is primarily focused on ‘killing, killing, killing.’
The U.S. air strikes in Afghanistan drastically increased from 1,074 in January to 2,244 by the end of August.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group’s troops have grown accustomed to response techniques for the air strikes over the past 16 years.
‘In 2010, 2011 and 2012 the U.S. air strikes were successful and we lost many Mujahideen,’ he told Reuters.
‘But now, we have enough experience to avoid casualties during their strikes by hiding in mountain holes and other places.’
When speaking of his Afghanistan policy, Trump included he would ‘lift restrictions and expand authorities in the field.’
The President did not release specific information on what the proposal would entail.
U.S. military spokesman in Kabul, Capt. William Salvin, said U.S. forces are still limited to conducting air strikes in circumstances of self-defense, counter-terrorism strikes against specific groups and helping Afghan troops achieve ‘strategic effects.’