455th AEW Plays Key Role. The 455th Air Expeditionary Wing has been playing a key role in the combined operations against Taliban revenue streams in Helmand province. A large offensive mounted by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces was enabled by air support from the U.S. to interdict and destroy drug processing laboratories and associated targets. Read "455th AEW plays key role in new Taliban offensive", DVIDS, November 24, 2017.
Air Assets Shift to Afghanistan. With the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria winding down the U.S. is shifting air power to support combat operations in Afghanistan. Read "War in Afghanistan Heats Up as Fight Against ISIS Winds Down", DoD Buzz, November 27, 2017.
Air Power in Afghanistan Increases. Airstrikes in Afghanistan are at their highest since 2010. Over 600 airstrikes took place in October 2017. The last time the numbers were this high was in November 2010 with 866 airstrikes. "US Aircraft Return to Surge-Level Operations in Afghanistan", Air Force Magazine, November 21, 2017.
Air Campaign Considered Key Approach. The U.S. is banking a lot on the use of it's air power to stem the tide of the Taliban insurgency. The new approach with looser rules of engagement is considered a 'game changer'. Read "New air campaign in Afghanistan is test for Trump strategy in America's longest war", USA Today, December 1, 2017.
$50 Million of Narcotics Destroyed in Airstrikes? General Nicholson, RS Cdr, claims that the combined ground operations and airstrikes in Helmand province destroyed over $50 million in narcotics. He claims the drug trade is the Taliban's 'financial engine'. Narcotics production doubled in 2017. (VOA, Dec 2, 2017).
AMW Graduates More Crew Members. The Afghan Special Mission Wing (SMW) has more qualified crew members for its PC-12 and Mi-17 helicopters. (DVIDS, Nov 25, 2017).