Air Force Times, February 11, 2011
Afghanistan airstrikes up dramatically in Jan.
American jets reported higher weapons releases on a year-over-year basis every month, except December, since Petraeus replaced Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal
By Scott Fontaine
American planes drastically escalated the intensity of the air war over Afghanistan in January.
U.S. jets — most of them Air Force — last month attacked insurgents with guns, bombs and missiles 293 times, which is three times more than in December and two times more than in January 2010.
The rise in weapons releases can be tied to the surge of American troops to Afghanistan and the guidance of Army Gen. David Petraeus, who took command of NATO forces in July. American jets reported higher weapons releases on a year-over-year basis every month, except December, since Petraeus replaced Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who made limitations of airstrikes a cornerstone of his counterinsurgency strategy.
Petraeus, in an interview with Financial Times published Feb. 6, called the increased airstrikes “all precision and all quite specific, very targeted.”
Hostilities in the air war over Iraq, meanwhile, have effectively ground to a halt. American jets flew 333 close-air support missions but didn’t release weapons once in January. American jets attacked targets only eight times throughout 2010, down from 1,708 just three years earlier.
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