A US Air Force B-52 flies over Arlington, Virginia, August 14, 2015. Coalition forces are using B-52s to pound insurgents in Afghanistan. [Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP]
WASHINGTON -- Coalition forces have struck multiple Taliban targets in an air offensive carried out over the past four days in northern Afghanistan, US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced Tuesday (February 6).
The campaign aimed "to destroy insurgent revenue sources, training facilities and support networks", it said.
US forces conducted "precision strikes" against "Taliban training facilities in Badakhshan Province, preventing the planning and rehearsal of terrorist acts near the border with China and Tajikistan", the Command said.
The strikes also destroyed Afghan National Army vehicles stolen by the Taliban that were being turned into vehicle-borne explosive devices.
The strikes were carried out in part by a US Air Force B-52 Stratofortress, which dropped 24 guided munitions.
A B-52 was also involved in an air strike Tuesday against the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) in Jawzjan Province, BBC Persian reported, citing local officials.
The air strike hit an ISIS hideout in Sardara village of Darzab District, killing 25 terrorists, said Mohammad Reza Ghafoori, a spokesman for the provincial governor.
One Chechen and three Uzbekistani nationals were among those killed, he said, adding that no civilian casualties were reported.
Ongoing air strikes in Helmand Province also "continue to degrade Taliban revenue sources and safe havens", CENTCOM said.
"The Taliban have nowhere to hide," said Gen. John Nicholson, commander of United States Forces-Afghanistan. "There will be no safe haven for any terrorist group bent on bringing harm and destruction to this country."
"The Taliban cannot win on the battlefield, therefore they inflict harm and suffering on innocent civilians," he said. "All they can do is kill innocent people and destroy what other people have built."
Joint operations by US and Afghan forces "have resulted in the removal of more than $30 million [2.1 billion AFN] of Taliban revenue since the campaign began in November 2017", according to CENTCOM.
The US military's new strategy of training and advisory support to local troops has the strong backing of NATO allies helping the effort, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said Tuesday in a hearing by the US House Armed Services Committee.
The number of allies in Afghanistan has grown to 41, he said.
"They're there because they believe in the strategy, which means the Afghan boys continue to carry the load for the fighting, but now with advisers that bring the NATO air support and fire support to bear to help them," Mattis said according to AFP.
Washington has not closed the doors on diplomatic efforts to "bring the Taliban to the negotiating table", US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, returning from a trip to Kabul, told the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Tuesday.
All Afghan leaders "reiterated their support for our strategy" and pledged to create "the conditions that will bring the Taliban to the negotiation table", he said according to AFP.
Do you think the Afghan government should continue seeking peace talks with the Taliban after the militant group's recent attacks?