US B-52 bombers launch airstrikes against Taliban in Jowzjan province
“The terrorists suffered heavy casualties,” Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Fawad Aman wrote on Twitter.
Earlier, US President Joe Biden has ordered the US Air Force to carry out str-ikes against Taliban fighters in Afghanistan that have been approaching major Afghan cities, The Times reported, citing anonymous defence sources. The Air Force will reportedly use B-52 bombers and Lockh-eed Martin C-130 Spectre gunships for this purpose.
Despite their age, B-52 bombers are still widely used by American forces due to their ability to carry 32 tonnes of ammunition, including nuclear armaments, at long distances. The latter is important in this case, since the nearest bomber is reportedly located in Qatar following the start of the US withdrawing its troops from Afghani-stan. C-130 Spectre gunsh-ips are also not the newest in their class, but can still easily annihilate ground targets using a combination of 20 mm M61 Vulcan Gatling-style rotary cannon, a L60 Bofors 40 mm cannon, and an on-board M137 105 mm howitzer.
Biden’s reported order to conduct bombings came in light of Taliban forces approaching the cities of Herat, Lashkar Gah, and Kandahar after they captured the capitals of two Afghan provinces in a matter of 24 hours – the city of Sheberghan in Jawzjan and the city of Zaranj in Nimroz.
Taliban have been advancing all over the country in the last several months, purportedly capturing over 90% of the territory – a number that is disputed by Kabul.
Their offensive started following Biden’s annou-ncement of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, with NATO troops depl-oyed there following suit. The departing NATO forces are no longer supporting Afghan security forces with airstrikes, while Kabul’s own Air Force is heavily understaffed with pilots and technicians, as well as underequipped with spare parts.