Afghanistan

America Dropped a Record Number of Bombs on Afghanistan Last Year

Civilian deaths are also on the rise, and it's increasingly obvious that there is no clear strategy for the U.S. to "win" its longest military conflict.

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The United States dropped 7,423 bombs on Afghanistan last year—that's an average of more than 20 per day—narrowly surpassing the previous record set in 2018.

It's a statistic that belies the notion that President Donald Trump is an anti-war commander-in-chief, and one that suggests America is still no closer to winning its longest military conflict.

Trump has overseen a massive escalation in the amount of ordnance fired at Afghanistan in the past two years, according to a new report from the U.S Air Force. But other than blasting thousands of new craters in the war-torn country and terrorizing the people unfortunate enough to live there, there is little evidence that bombing the hell out of what's left of the country is accomplishing any vital U.S. interest. Amid the record-breaking year of attacks, the Trump administration was holding on-and-off peace talks with the Taliban—you know, the same group we went to war nearly two decades ago to remove—aimed at handing over control of the country.

Not all of those 7,423 weapons were "bombs" in the traditional sense of the word. The report counted various types of ordnance, including missile strikes, large-caliber (105mm or greater) shells fired by combat aircraft, and strafing fire from 20mm cannons. U.S. and other coalition aircraft flew more than 8,800 missions in Afghanistan last year, and more than a quarter of those missions resulted in the firing of munitions, according to the Air Force report.

Still, it is perhaps unsurprising that the escalation in the number of explosive weapons fired at Afghanistan has coincided with an escalation in civilian deaths there. In 2018, when the U.S. dropped a then-record 7,362 bombs on the country, the United Nations documented 3,804 civilian deaths caused by ongoing conflicts in the country. About a quarter of those deaths were attributed to "pro-government forces," including Afghan national security forces, international military forces, and other pro-government militias.

Full data for 2019 has yet to be released by the United Nations. But through October of last year it looked like Afghanistan was on pace for its bloodiest year since at least 2009. Already in 2020, at least 15 civilians were killed by a U.S. airstrike in western Afghanistan.

It's true that most of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan are the result of terrorism and militia attacks, but it's equally true that the increase in U.S. bombing is not making Afghans any safer—in fact, it seems to be contributing to an overall escalation in violence.

Trump has also escalated the Afghanistan conflict in other ways. In 2017, he increased the numbers of troops deployed there by 3,000 in an attempt to finally "win" the war. But just like his predecessor—President Barack Obama hiked Afghanistan deployments by nearly 30,000 in 2010—Trump's attempt to break the quagmire in Central Asia has led to more bloodshed but little success.

And now the Trump administration does not even appear willing to explain its Afghanistan strategy to Congress. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to appear at a congressional hearing this week in which lawmakers grappled with the "Afghanistan Papers" published in December by The Washington Post. The Post's document dump showed that the Pentagon has been lying for years about the status of the war in Afghanistan, while top military brass have privately concluded that the U.S. has no clear strategy or path to victory.

Trump came into office promising to end America's wasteful post-9/11 wars. He's so far squandered his opportunity to do so.

Withdrawing from Afghanistan without a clear strategy for the country's future might invite chaos. Still, it's hard to argue that it would be any less productive for U.S. interests than the Trump administration's current "pray-and-spray" approach, which is saturating the country with explosives and blood but seems to be accomplishing little else.

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  1. Someone remind me again how Trump is the peace president.

    1. Someone remind me who said that he was the peace president.

      1. Uhhhh …. himself, Trump? Didn’t he campaign on getting out of there?

        1. So you have a quote of him calling hkmself the peace president, SQRLSY?

          “Uhhhh”

          You should have stopped there.

          But since you didn’t, fetch that quote now and stop pretending “I’ll get us out of there” is the same as “I’m the peace president”

          1. You ask for literal things, yet quibble about unliteral things. Methinks you are a bit confused.

            1. So you don’t have a quote of him calling himself the peace president. Got it.

              Now please, in the future, just save everyone the time and stop pretending “I’ll get us out of there” is the same as “I’m the peace president”

              If you were smarter, you would knowd that the two conditions aren’t mutually exclusive, SQRLSY

                1. Yeah, still not seeing him claim he’s the peace PRESIDENT. Notice you didn’t pul a quote out.

                  Especially stupid example since there’s already a quote here of him kicking the prize because it doesn’t go out for peace anyway.

                  God, you’re even dumber than SQRLSY. You literally posted an example of him mocking a peace prize that goes to people who don’t bring peace as your example lololol

                  1. Lolol honest eunuch – “Trump thinks he’s the peace president because he didn’t get a prize he said overtly wasn’t given out for peace anyway”

                    Ahahahaha God you people are so fucking pathetic, you know he never said it and that is thd best you can do ahahahahajajaj

                    1. God this is fucking awesome, none of you have ANYTHING lololololol

                    2. Ahahaha this is so fabulous you KNOW the eunuch thought he had something, because he’s stupid and thinks “why didn’t I get a prize based on politics” means ” I’m the peace president ”

                      Ahahahahahahahahhah

                      I LOVE watching you make a fool of yourself ahahhahhahahaja

                    3. It’s so hilarious Trump was trolling the eunuch specifically with that and he doesn’t even realize he got trolled he’s so stupid lolololollol

                    4. Take your loss like a man and shut up, Tulpa.

                    5. Thank you so much I absolutely love laughing at you especially when Trump trolls you and you fall for it and don’t even realize it

                    6. Hahaha look he came back he stupidly understands that he lost this badly and quoted something that doesn’t have anything to do with what was asked and he still stupidly came back and I get to laugh at it more thank you God thank you so much

                      Ahahah “Take your loss like a man and shut up, Tulpa.”. Look how salty he is he knows why didn’t I get a rig prize isn’t the same as I’m the peace president he absolutely knows it and he can’t stand that I’m laughing at him for being so stupid ahahahah

                    7. Ahahahahah ahahahah he absolutely knows he’s wrong ahahah. I asked for a quote any points to an article of trump trolling him and the Peace Prize committee that’s fabulous he’s so stupid that he doesn’t understand what a fool he’s making of himself

                    8. Hahaha hahaha hahaha thank you so much for the opportunity to laugh at you more usually you run away like a dog because you’re a coward I appreciate that you came back so I could laugh at how stupid you are even more hahaha hahaha

                    9. Hahaha he actually went with why didn’t I get a prize that isn’t given out for peace means I’m the peace president he actually believe that he has TDS so badly that when he read that he didn’t realize what was happening I love so much what Trump does to people like you

                    10. So that’s it?

                      An article where Trump mocks the Nobel committee and says nothing about being the peace president is the best you have?

                      AHAHAHAHAHAHA THIS IS WHY YOU ALWAYS LOSE EUNUCH AHAHAHA

                      THAT WAS THE BEST YOU HAD AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAJAAJJA

                    11. That’s right run away now, because THAT WAS THE BEST YOU HAD AHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA

                      HAHAHAHAAHHAAHAH

                      AHAHAHAHHAHAHA

                      HE NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT BEING THE PEACE PREZ AHAHAHAHAHHA AND YOU KNOW IT ANHAJAHAJA

                      THAT WAS THE BEST YOU HAD AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAAJ

          2. “I think I’m going to get a Nobel Prize for a lot of things, if they gave it out fairly, which they don’t,”

            “They gave one to Obama,” Trump said, claiming that the Democrat had “no idea” why he had received it. “That was the only thing I agreed with him on.”

            So not only the Noble Peace Prize but chemistry maybe. Granted since Obama and Yasser have one; it ain’t exactly for bring about peace.

            1. I don’t see “I’m the peace president” nor anything like it, could you highlight it for me?

        2. “”Didn’t he campaign on getting out of there?””

          Yes, and the liberals and establishment had a friggin cow.

          1. It’s fascinating to me that the idiots in this thread really seem to think “I’m going to get us out of there” can’t mean “I’m going to bomb their faces off until they quit then we can leave”

            1. And at least he’s made effort towards it. Maybe he would be farther along of the progtards weren’t working round the clock to impeach him.

    2. Yea, verily, where forth art his Nobel Peace Prize?

      1. I’d settle for a quote of him calling himself the peace president that you claimed existed, SQRLSY.

      2. How many bombs do you have to drop before the Nobel Peace Prize people revoke the award?

        1. Apparently 200,000 isn’t enough to do it

    3. Trump is on course to be the first president since Carter to not initiate war operations on a country.

      But the year is young.

      1. Right, but he claimed he would get us out of there, and hasn’t yet, so that means all his other decisions are moot, according to an idiot.

      2. Syria and a certain Iranian general would like a word with you along with all the people that have somehow been blowing up whenever anAmerican drone passes by.

        1. Syria was started by Obama dumbass. The war in Iraq by Bush.

          1. Obama bombed the Syrian government? Where?

            1. It’s like you think we can’t see you moving the goalposts.

            2. Who initiated our war operations in Syria? Obama or Trump?

            3. Obama bombed the Syrian government? Where?

              Remember the recent spat about Trump withdrawing troops from Syria?

              You must realize, on some level, that in order to have a conversation about withdrawing troops from Syria, there needs to be troops in Syria?

              Do you recall how those troops got there and who sent them?

        2. We had a word with them and you’re still wrong and Vic is right.

          Womp Womp.

        3. I realize you were busy not paying your bills and probably weren’t aware, but US combat operations in Syria started in September 2014, not 2017. The US was also responsible for arming Syrian rebels beginning in 2013. That certain Iranian general probably should have had troops who were smart enough to not write his name on the US embassy wall as their commander. You moron.

      3. Don’t worry our good friends the Saudi’s will lead him into one. And at that point, the media, will call him presidential. But so far, he is better then the last two “presidential” presidents.

    4. You’ll have to settle for him being better than Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, or any alternative

    5. Hey remember when he ended the illegal war Obama started in Syria and you shit in your pants about MUH KURDISH ALLIES!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Hey remember when Obama escalated in Afghanistan and oversaw the highest number of American service deaths since 2002 and you sat there picking your ass and drooling into your cup?

  2. Trump needs to create a unilateral withdrawal program for Afghanistan, and it needs to be on an alarmingly short timeline. And when the last person turns out the lights, we need to leave a note on the table which reads, “Try this shit again and it won’t end well.”

  3. The United States dropped 7,423 bombs on Afghanistan last year

    I’m sure they deserved it.

    1. Someone has to keep the bomb factory busy.

      1. Gotta cycle those bombs in the bomb dumps. They have expiration dates.

        (seriously, they do)

        1. may as well use Afganistan as a live training exercise forever

    2. “The report counted various types of ordnance … and strafing fire …”
      Somebody is padding the stats.

      1. •Some figures may have changed due to data re-calculation and re-verification
        •Assets under CFACC control include a compilation of aircraft from all U.S. military branches of service, as well as Coalition aircraft; however, not all aircraft flying in the AOR fall under CFACC control.

        So, Canadian or Belgian pilots are a little slow to get their fingers off the trigger and the uptick has something to do with Trump.

  4. Whaever o’range man sez to me is ok. Yee-haw!!

    1. You’re fired!

    2. It’s not like you could do anything about it if it wasn’t

      1. Ah yes, the great libertarian argument where you throw government power in the face of its opponent. Get fucked, goose-stepper.

        1. No I meant you’re an irffectual nothing who can’t even pay his mortgage and spends hours a day crying on the internet.

          The fact that he’s also in charge of a government you have no control over is completely irrelevant

          1. I would love to use the Smith Act to have him put to death. Along with all the other Marxist traitors.

        2. “Get fucked, goose-stepper.”

          You first, running, rusty chainsaw. And sign your insurance over the the bank you cheated.

  5. If Obama would have actually ended the war in Afghanistan instead of trying to take credit as if he did, we wouldn’t be talking about it.

    1. As soon as Osama was dropped into the bottom of the sea; he should have left. Mission Accomplished. But then all those young girls would have lost the opportunity to go to school (yes, that is a bit of a reduction).

      1. “”As soon as Osama was dropped into the bottom of the sea; he should have left. Mission Accomplished. “”

        I agree. Bush gave them an ultimatum. Hand over Osama, or face the consequences.

  6. Not all of those 7,423 weapons were “bombs” in the traditional sense of the word. The report counted various types of ordnance, including missile strikes, large-caliber (105mm or greater) shells fired by combat aircraft, and strafing fire from 20mm cannons.

    Uh, the devil really is in the details here guys and glossing it over is kinda dishonest.

    7,000 rounds is like 2 min. of fire from a GAU-8 and any civilians killed would be attached to the armored vehicles that was having depleted uranium delivered to it.

    7,000 bombs on the other hand, could easily rival the bombing of Dresden.

    So, “Trump” firing 7,000 rounds of 20mm into Soleimani’s (who wasn’t the target) corpse is very different than “Obama or Bush” dropping explosives to kill the al-Awlaki’s and whomever happened to be in the cafe or at the wedding with them.

    1. This is just lazy reporting. That stuff’s all included in the mission reports and it should be easy enough to contact the Pentagon PA office and ask them for clarification on which missions saw actual bombs dropped.

      It’s also been obvious to anyone who’s been involved in the military over the last 19 years that no one in the government has a fucking clue about how to extricate the US out of Afghanistan that doesn’t result in a repeat of what happened in Iraq. Regardless of the long-term strategic implications, Obama’s biggest fuck-up was not flying everyone home within 24 hours of Bin Laden being killed.

      1. “It’s also been obvious to anyone who’s been involved in the military over the last 19 years that no one in the government has a fucking clue about how to extricate the US out of Afghanistan that doesn’t result in a repeat of what happened in Iraq.”

        Remind Pakistan, or at least the high ranking members of the ISI, of the consequences of allowing another Al Qaeda to set up shop.

        All I got. I said back in early 2002 that the US was never going to defeat the Taliban, because we weren’t going to kill the lion’s share of 1.5 million Pashtun. We also weren’t going to kill all of the men above 7 years old, and half the women. Or try like the Soviets did, kidnap the kids, and stick them in schools besides Saudi-funded madrassas, where they might learn something besides the Koran and how to fieldstrip an AK.

        All the US could do was find the AQ guys who did this to us, and kill them. Which they’ve mostly done. I guess Zawahiri is buried at the bottom of a few thousand tons of granite in Paktika somewhere.

        1. So far, Trump has been a punitive strike guy.
          I like that.
          Punitive strikes are useful.
          Nation building is not

    2. At least he spelled ordnance correctly.

      Gunship fire now counting as ‘bombs’ is a new one. And in that case, 7,423 is really quite small.

      1. I wonder how many people think the F-15 in the photo is dropping bombs?

  7. “”And in that case, 7,423 is really quite small.””

    BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRTTTT covers that.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if a single AC-130 mission accounted for a large portion of those numbers. Though I think they got rid of the Gatling gun 20s, and it’s now just a Bushmaster 30mm or 2 and the 105. I do remember them having trouble getting spare parts for the 40s onboard.

      Things like guided 81 mms or guided Hydra rockets might enable them to get rid of the guns altogether.

  8. It’s true that most of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan are the result of terrorism and militia attacks,
    Oops, lets not let a little truth get in the way of the narrative.
    BTW: I agree that we have no reason to remain in Afghanistan. Seriously, fuck em. I feel bad that the Taliban are fucking evil shitheads. But, the world is full of evil shitheads. And we aren’t doing any good there anyway. Get out of there post haste. And if they support something like 9-11 again, we level every building in every city we can find. Then get out of there. Rinse repeat. Eventually they will get tired of the rubble.

    1. You’re wrong about getting tired of the rubble. The Israelis have turned parts of Gaza into rubble and the “palestinians” still go on. Would also add that when you live in a mud brick house in Afcrapistan with no lights and no running water, its not that big a deal to have your house flattened.

    2. you don’t even have to send troops to level everything, thats why we have an airforce

  9. What a fucknugget. The report doesn’t use the word bomb. It states “Number of weapons Released”. And statistically it is approximately the same in 2019 as in 2018 (7423 to 7362). And who was Commander-in-Chief in 2018?
    There are also some interesting tidbits if you read deeper.
    The number of aircraft refueling, fuel offloaded and tanker sorties are between 40-50% less in 2019 than in 2018. So, it makes me think that we aren’t necessarily comparing apples to apples.
    Of course, Boehm didn’t bother to report on the second page of the report: Iraq/Syria.
    Weapons released
    2017: 39577
    2018: 8713
    2019: 4729

    Hmmmmmm

    1. And who was Commander-in-Chief in 2018?

      Trump?

      1. His point is that Boehm is lying. Which is blatantly obvious.

  10. America Dropped a Record Number of Bombs on Afghanistan Last Year

    This year were gonna hit them with “Cats” and “Dr. Dolittle”.

    1. This year were gonna hit them with “Cats” and “Dr. Dolittle”.

      And if that doesn’t do the trick, it really is time to give up.

      1. Oh come on! We’re really gonna give up before we drop the Bombshell?

  11. “Withdrawing from Afghanistan without a clear strategy for the country’s future might invite chaos. Still, it’s hard to argue that it would be any less productive for U.S. interests than the Trump administration’s current “pray-and-spray” approach, which is saturating the country with explosives and blood but seems to be accomplishing little else.”

    —-Eric Boehm

    Current pray and spray approach?!

    How embarrassing . . . for Eric Boehm.

    “KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban have offered a brief period of reducing violence in Afghanistan during ongoing negotiations with United States diplomats, three officials familiar with the talks said on Thursday, a concession seen as important to finalizing a preliminary peace deal between the insurgents and the United States to end their 18-year war.

    If the American side accepts the offer, it could amount to the most significant development in the yearlong negotiations since talks resumed after President Trump had scuttled the peace process on the eve of a deal in September.

    Though the pledge to reduce violence falls short of the overarching long-term cease-fire sought by the Afghan government, Western diplomats had said getting the Taliban to agree to more than a modest reduction in attacks would be difficult before the withdrawal of foreign forces gets underway.

    Details of the offer, confirmed by Western and Taliban officials familiar with the negotiations, were unclear, though the Taliban have said in the past that a reduction in violence would mean scaling back attacks on major cities and highways.”

    —-New York Times, January 16, 2020

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/16/world/asia/afghanistan-taliban-agreement.html

    The three most likely reasons why Boehm didn’t bother mentioning that Trump has been actively negotiating with the Taliban, all this time, so that the U.S. can leave Afghanistan are:

    1) Ignorance

    Boehm isn’t aware that Trump has been negotiating with the Taliban or that peace talks are ongoing.

    2) Intellectual dishonesty

    Boehm knew that President Trump has been negotiating with the Taliban so that we can withdraw, but didn’t mention it in this article on purpose.

    3) Gotcha!

    If Boehm mentioned that President Trump was negotiating with the Taliban so that the U.S. could withdraw from Afghanistan now, it would make it that much harder for Boehm to write his “gotcha” article to denounce Trump for abandoning the good people of Afghanistan later.

    My guess?

    I think it’s the first one. I don’t think Boehm hesitates to write strong, half-baked opinions on topics he knows nothing about, and the only topic that really matters to him is that Trump should be kicked out of the White House anyway. Why quibble over minor details like reality?

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  13. “…In 2018, when the U.S. dropped a then-record 7,362 bombs on the country, the United Nations documented 3,804 civilian deaths caused by ongoing conflicts in the country. About a quarter of those deaths were attributed to “pro-government forces,” including Afghan national security forces, international military forces, and other pro-government militias.
    Full data for 2019 has yet to be released by the United Nations. But through October of last year it looked like Afghanistan was on pace for its bloodiest year since at least 2009. Already in 2020, at least 15 civilians were killed by a U.S. airstrike in western Afghanistan.”

    Do you really want to post such bullshit? Even Tony isn’t dumb enough to buy such cherry-picked and misleading stats, for pete’s sake.
    We’ll assume your “bomb” number for 2018 is as big a pile of shit as your 2019 “bomb” number; do you really think we’re dumb enough to buy such lies?
    And then we have a claimed number of “civilian” death with holes big enough to suggest you pulled that out of your ass.
    Get back to us when you’ve got something worthy of a 9th-grade government school ‘history’ class.
    Worthless piece of shit…

    1. I would volunteer to edit for Reason, but I don’t think I could handle the workload.

  14. “Civilian deaths are also on the rise, and it’s increasingly obvious that there is no clear strategy for the U.S. to “win” its longest military conflict. ”

    Increasingly obvious?

    Fuck, its been obvious since 2002. We should have pulled the fuck out when Tora Bora failed to bag OBL.

  15. “The United States dropped 7,423 bombs on Afghanistan last year—that’s an average of more than 20 per day—narrowly surpassing the previous record set in 2018.”

    So, how does that compare to the bombing of Dresden?

    WWII in general?

    Vietnam?

  16. Article is about bombs, so reason shows a picture of a plane dropping flares. (They must have been those evil large-capacity assault flares.) Is that supposed to help me believe reason has a clue about anything?

    This comment not approved by Silicon Valley brain slugs.

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