Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The US military dropped more bombs on Afghanistan in the last month than it has since 2010
U.S. military aircraft dropped more bombs and fired more missiles in Afghanistan last month than it has in nearly a decade, Air Force statistics show.
In September the U.S. military dropped 948 munitions in Afghanistan, according to U.S. Air Forces Central Command's latest summary of wartime missions. The last time so much ordnance was used in Afghanistan was October 2010, when the coalition tracked 1,043 weapons releases.
Both President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper have said the U.S. military has escalated attacks against the Taliban following the breakdown of peace talks in early September.
"We did pick up the pace considerably," Esper told reporters on Oct. 4 while returning from a visit to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky. "The president did want us to pick up response. You had the heinous attacks that the Taliban and others conducted throughout Afghanistan."
The number of weapons used during airstrikes in Afghanistan has been climbing since the summer, according to U.S. Air Forces Central Command's latest summary of wartime missions. In June, 441 weapons were used, followed by 613 in July and 783 in August.
U.S military aircraft have flown 1,838 sorties involving using at least one weapon so far this year, a major jump from 500 such missions flown in 2018, the summary shows.
Overall, the coalition flew 6,547 sorties in the first nine months of 2019, nearly as many as the 8,196 sorties flown during all of last year.
The U.S.-led war in Afghanistan marked its 18th anniversary on Monday. After a small number of U.S. troops and intelligence officers helped the Northern Alliance topple the Taliban in 2001, the U.S. military shifted its focus to Iraq. By 2006, signs were emerging that the Taliban was rising again.
Trump, who has vowed to end the United States' post 9/11 wars, tweeted on Sept. 7 that he had invited the Taliban to Camp David for peace negotiations, but he had decided to end the process because the Taliban were continuing to carry out attacks.
"Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people," Trump tweeted. "I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations. What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?"
A Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three Guardsmen aboard crashed south of St. Cloud on Thursday, said National Guard spokeswoman Army Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens.
At this time, the National Guard is not releasing any information about the status of the three people aboard the helicopter, Heusdens told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.
Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."
Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.
The Navy could deploy a second carrier to the Middle East if Trump orders an Iran surge, top admiral says
The Navy could send a second aircraft carrier to the Middle East if President Donald Trump orders a surge of forces to the region, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said on Thursday.
Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported the United States is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces and regional allies. The surge forces could include several ships.
I didn't think a movie about World War I would, or even could, remind me of Afghanistan.
Somehow 1917 did, and that's probably the highest praise I can give Sam Mendes' newest war drama: It took a century-old conflict and made it relatable.
An internal investigation spurred by a nude photo scandal shows just how deep sexism runs in the Marine Corps
"I will still have to work harder to get the perception away from peers and seniors that women can't do the job."
Some years ago, a 20-year-old female Marine, a military police officer, was working at a guard shack screening service members and civilians before they entered the base. As a lance corporal, she was new to the job and the duty station, her first in the Marine Corps.
At some point during her shift, a male sergeant on duty drove up. Get in the car, he said, the platoon sergeant needs to see you. She opened the door and got in, believing she was headed to see the enlisted supervisor of her platoon.
Instead, the sergeant drove her to a dark, wooded area on base. It was deserted, no other Marines were around. "Hey, I want a blowjob," the sergeant told her.
"What am I supposed, what do you do as a lance corporal?" she would later recall. "I'm 20 years old ... I'm new at this. You're the only leadership I've ever known, and this is what happens."
She looked at him, then got out of the car and walked away. The sergeant drove up next to her and tried to play it off as a prank. "I'm just fucking with you," he said. "It's not a big deal."
It was one story among hundreds of others shared by Marines for a study initiated in July 2017 by the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL). Finalized in March 2018, the center's report was quietly published to its website in September 2019 with little fanfare.
The culture of the Marine Corps is ripe for analysis. A 2015 Rand Corporation study found that women felt far more isolated among men in the Corps, while the Pentagon's Office of People Analytics noted in 2018 that female Marines rated hostility toward them as "significantly higher" than their male counterparts.
But the center's report, Marines' Perspectives on Various Aspects of Marine Corps Organizational Culture, offers a proverbial wakeup call to leaders, particularly when paired alongside previous studies, since it was commissioned by the Marine Corps itself in the wake of a nude photo sharing scandal that rocked the service in 2017.
The scandal, researchers found, was merely a symptom of a much larger problem.