Afghanistan Raids by U.S. Commandos Almost Triple Since 2009, NATO Says
The U.S. military in Afghanistan has nearly tripled since 2009 the frequency of commando raids launched against Taliban or insurgent groups, according to NATO figures.
This year, from Jan. 1 through this week, the U.S. — with Afghanistan and NATO assistance — has launched 1,879 missions, with 916 “targets” killed or captured, according to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
That compares with 1,780 missions for all of last year, with 825 targets killed or captured, and 675 missions in 2009, when 306 adversaries were killed or captured, according to a NATO spokesman, U.S. Army Major Jason Waggoner.
“Even if the primary target is not killed or captured on these missions, 35% of those times, the next closest associate or another individual directly linked to the target is killed or captured,” he said in an e-mailed statement.
Roughly 7,000 of the 61,000 personnel under the U.S. Special Operations Command are in Afghanistan today.
Special operations forces “continue to apply steady pressure throughout the entire country from the north down to Helmand, with a majority of the focus on the eastern beltway,” Waggoner said.
They target senior leaders, fighters and facilitators in both the Taliban and Haqqani insurgent network within Afghanistan, he said. The network has attacked U.S. forces in at least six Afghan provinces, including the capital, Kabul.