Yes, you read that right – Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has forbidden Afghan forces to use airstrikes in engagement near built-up areas, according to the Associated Press;
Afghans currently lead about 90 percent of military operations nationwide and will fully take charge in the spring, a key step in the plan to withdraw U.S. and other foreign combat forces by the end of 2014. However, they remain heavily dependent on the coalition for air support and medical evacuations in areas where the Taliban and other militants live among the population and often enjoy local support.
The ban also runs counter to Afghan requests for NATO to supply their security forces with aircraft capable of carrying out airstrikes. The Afghan military has repeatedly implored the United States for jet fighters, such as F-16s, tanks, artillery and other heavy weapons.
Some analysts said the ban on airstrikes against residential areas would limit the Afghan forces’ effectiveness and could prompt the savvy Taliban to use it by increasingly taking shelter among civilians in cities and villages.
Naw, that would never happen – the enemy taking advantage of our weaknesses? Who ever heard of such a thing? Maybe Hamid could carry his dusty ass into the fight from the front and see how he likes knowing that there will be no air cover. I guess, on the up side, that means we can bring our pilots home sooner – but in the mean time, we have US advisers with Afghan troops whose asses are now exposed to Taliban hiding in villages.
In fact, Dakota Meyer earned his Medal of Honor because his unit couldn’t get air or indirect fire support because they were trapped in a canyon near a Taliban-occupied village and it cost the rest of his advisory team their lives.
Since Hamid thinks that he can do so well without US support, we ought to pull the rug out from under him and leave tomorrow, it that’s not too late.