B-52 Sets New Record in Bombing Run on Taliban

A B-52 Stratofortress, like the one shown here on the flightline at Al Udeid AB, Qatar, broke the record for most precision munitions dropped from a B-52 in a single sortie during a mission in support of Operation Jagged Knife in Afghanistan. DVIDS video screenshot/US ANG Staff Sgt. Aubrey Griffin.

A B-52 in Afghanistan this week set a new record for most precision weapons dropped in a single sortie, lobbing 24 guided munitions on Taliban fighting positions and vehicles stolen from the Afghan National Army that were being transformed into vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices.

US Forces-Afghanistan has expanded its “Jagged Knife” campaign into Badakhshan province, conducting airstrikes in the past three days aimed at “preventing rehearsal of terrorist acts” near the border with China and Tajikistan, US Central Command said in a release.

“The Taliban have nowhere to hide,” US Forces Afghanistan Commander Gen. John Nicholson said in a release. “There will be no safe haven for any terrorist group bent on bringing harm and destruction to this country.”

The ongoing campaign, which include Afghan special forces raids, has previously targeted Taliban drug labs, removing more than $30 million of Taliban revenue since it began in November.

The B-52, which flies out of Al Udeid AB, Qatar, to conduct the strikes, set its previous record of precision weapons dropped during the opening salvo of Operation Jagged Knife. During that mission, the B-52 used its its conventional rotary launcher in Afghanistan for the first time.

The new campaign has had limited success so far, according to the Pentagon’s watchdog for Afghanistan. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, in a January report, found that the drug labs hit are “cheap and easy to replace.”