ISAF Came to Drop Bombs: Weapons Releases Up 32%

by Sunny in Kabul on 5/28/2013

Who knew “Fighting Joe” Dunford and the ISAF Cutting Crew were such House of Pain fans? Since some of you may not be fully familiar with the lyrical genius of their hit “Jump Around,” the section in question:

Word to your moms I came to drop bombs
I got more rhymes than the Bible’s got Psalms

Personally, I have an (admittedly disturbed) vision of COMISAF getting his Les Grossman on whenever they authorize an airstrike.

So right now you’re wondering, “Besides the productivity-killing trip down One Hit Wonder Lane, what’s your point?”

This: per Combined Forces Air Component Command Airpower Statistics for the first four months of 2013, weapons releases in support of operations in Afghanistan are up 32% from last year.

This…is a chart.

Weapons Releases

The red bars? This year. The blue bars? Last year. Besides being super shiny, it’s interesting given this interview with the current COMISAF in the New York Times:

Under Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the new commander of international forces here, the American-led military coalition is no longer aiming to change Afghanistan. Its focus now is on a far more narrow goal: readying Afghan forces to withstand the Taliban regardless of the country’s looming political and economic troubles.

Which apparently means dropping a whole lot more high explosives from the skies of Afghanistan on the Afghan landscape. The fact is that the Afghan’s own air support capabilities lag far behind where they should be at this point in order for successful transition of combat operations to take place at the end of 2014. And, while the message from ISAF/NATO and the US is that coalition forces are reducing their combat effort this year, this is not the case for air support operations. What makes this data even more interesting/troubling is that the insurgency only recently announced the start of its summer offensive. In February, for example, weapons releases year to year were up 156%, in a month when historically the pace of the fighting has been reduced due to winter. So what’s going to happen when the usual summer fun is in full swing?

At the beginning of this year ISAF made the decision to stop releasing its monthly statistics, so any observers without access to the classified schtuff must rely on getting data whenever and wherever we can. What this data says is that ISAF, while keenly interested in portraying operations as being Afghan-led, is equally interested in blowing stuff up. Which begs the question: if this is true

ISAF’s analysis indicates that 80% of the enemy attacks are occurring in areas where less than 20% of the Afghan population lives. More than 40% of all enemy attacks are occurring in just 10 districts, most of which are in the northern reaches of Helmand Province and western Kandahar Province.

…doesn’t that mean that 20% of the Afghan population is seeing a whole lot more ISAF airpower love?

Which cannot be a good thing.

Until next time…you stay on that sunny side!

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This post was written by...

– author of 15 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Happily married, cynic, and I long to drink the Kool-Aid. Two tours in Iraq, once as an Infantry officer, once as a Civil Affairs officer supporting a PRT. Now it's civilian development work in Afghanistan since 2009. I want to believe, it's just that the lies are so laughable.

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