'An admission of colossal failure': US dropped record number of bombs on Afghanistan in 2019

'An admission of colossal failure': US dropped record number of bombs on Afghanistan in 2019
An F-15E Strike Eagle from Bagram Air Base deploys flares over Afghanistan Nov. 12, 2008. (Photo: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon)

The U.S. military dropped a record-breaking number of bombs on Afghanistan in 2019, the Air Force announced Tuesday, drawing criticism from observers who wondered what purpose the continued barrage of the war-torn country after over 18 years of war could serve.


"Isn't this an admission of colossal failure?" tweeted CounterPunch editor Jeffrey St. Clair. "Who are we bombing? Why? What will it yield but more war?"

The munitions data (pdf) was published Monday by U.S. Air Forces Central Command. Air Force jets dropped 7,423 bombs on Afghanistan in 2019, the highest number since records began in 2006—beating out 2018.

Stars and Stripes explained how the bombing affects the Afghan people:

The AFCENT figures include bomb and missile strikes, 105 mm shells fired by AC-130 gunships and strafing fire from 20 mm cannons and up.

Airstrikes, predominantly conducted by U.S. forces, caused 579 of the 1,149 civilian war fatalities attributed to pro-government forces in Afghanistan during the first nine months of 2019, according to the most recent United Nations data.

As the war in Afghanistan continues, so too does a lack of accountability with the American people from President Donald Trump's administration.

Two members of the president's Cabinet, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, refused to attend a Congressional hearing on the war Tuesday morning, drawing criticism from Subcommittee on National Security chairman Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.).

Lynch said in his remarks that the president's strategy in the region is at best incoherent.

"Despite repeated invitations, the Department of State and the Department of Defense refused to make witnesses available to testify today," said Lynch. "That's very disappointing, because I'm concerned that rather than implementing a coherent Afghanistan strategy, U.S. policy in the region is instead being driven by the latest impulse of the commander-in-chief."

U.S. airstrikes killed 15 civilians earlier in January, Stars and Stripes reported last week.

Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission, which reported the strike in a report, said the attack was "a clear violation of human rights."

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