The US carried out its first combat airdrop in Afghanistan in more than two years last month, according to newly released US Air Force data.
A return to airdrops signals a possible deterioration of security for US troops operating in Afghanistan. Airdrops minimise the time an aircraft and aircrew spends in a hostile environment, allowing them to deliver cargo without having to land.
The C-130J Super Hercules, a military transport aircraft, resupplied coalition ground forces with more than five tonnes of equipment. While an air force spokesperson could not specify where the drop took place, he said it occurred in an established location that has experienced indirect fire in the past. Supplying the base in this way has not been necessary since at least 2014.
The need for airdrops declined dramatically in 2014, and they halted completely in 2015 and 2016, US Air Force data shows. The August drop of over 12,000 pounds of supplies was nearly half the amount dropped in the whole of 2014.
America’s war in Afghanistan is set to intensify following a recent speech from President Donald Trump. Additional US troops are already arriving in the country, with more to follow, while US strikes are also on the up. The air force data shows more weapons were released on Afghanistan in August than in any other single month since 2012.
Photo: A C-130J Super Hercules prepares for takeoff at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, August 24 2017. US Air Force photo taken by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier