Thursday, April 21, 2016

Exclusive: Afghan drone war - data show unmanned flights dominate air campaign Reuters

...Data reviewed by Reuters show strikes by unmanned aircraft accounted for 56 percent of weapons deployed by the Air Force in Afghanistan in 2015, up dramatically from 5 percent in 2011.
The role of drones is likely to form a key part of a review underway by U.S. General John Nicholson, head of NATO troops in Afghanistan, as he prepares to report to Washington in June on how many soldiers he thinks should stay on.
Nicholson declined to discuss details of the review in a recent interview with Reuters.
The current plan is to roughly halve the U.S. presence to 5,500 troops by 2017, most involved in counter-terrorism operations. The training and advising mission would be largely wound down.

In 2015, drones released around 530 bombs and missiles in Afghanistan, half the number in 2014 when weapons dropped by unmanned aircraft peaked.
The 2015 total is, however, almost double the number of bombs and missiles released by drones at the height of the "surge", when the NATO mission expanded to well over 100,000 troops after 2009, mainly Americans....
-bth: I think this marks a turning point where a low grade war is sustained from the air predominantly by drones.

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