first published on March 30, 2018 by Josh
In Afghanistan, the government forces have been making advances in leaps and bounds. Not only are those advances physical advances against the Taliban, allowing them to retake control of ground that was previously lost, but also technological advances that are making them a far more lethal force in their struggles against the now-degraded Taliban and ISIS-K. If you had told a veteran service member of the Global War on Terror that the government of Afghanistan would have an air force, let alone one that was capable of dropping laser guided bombs, that service member probably would have laughed at you. As of March 22 however, they’re officially doing it.
On top of this, they are also conducting large scale military operations into Taliban controlled territory, and successfully winning those engagements on their own with minimal support from Operation Resolute Support. In the past, the Afghan military seemed like something to joke about. The groups in their military were made up of rag-tag volunteers who had no idea how to operate a weapon, and who would often flee to safety at the first sign of a fight. Today, we are seeing much the opposite from the government forces as they continue to decisively defeat the Taliban in engagement after engagement using their own men and equipment to do so.
The footage at the bottom of this video was recorded on the gun mounted camera system of an Afghan Air Force A-29 on March 22, 2018. It shows the moment that an A-29 pilot from the government of Afghanistan makes the decision to use a laser guided bomb (GBU-58) to destroy a Taliban controlled compound in the Farah province of Afghanistan. This decision was made by the pilot due to the proximity of the target to civilian structures and people. Just three months after the AAF successfully completed training on the GBU-58 munition, the AAF loaded, manned, and dropped the weapon system with perfect precision in a combat environment with minimal aid from Operation Resolute Support advisers.
“Key pieces that you’re seeing is that the Afghan Air Force itself, one of the more lethal organizations they have, and one that we’re looking to triple in size by 2023, is conducting significantly more air operations in direct support of the ANDSF on the battlefield, to the tune of 500 more sorties this year than they did the year before,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Lance Bunch, director of future operations, Resolute Support, in a December 2017 press conference. Let’s hope that they keep up those numbers, and that sooner, rather than later, we are able to turn over this long-lasting fight against the Taliban to Afghan government forces in full.