A US air weapons team (typically made up of Apache attack helicopters or Kiowa scouts) killed 27 insurgents after they attacked a patrol in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar. From AFP, via Dawn:
“Coalition aircraft killed 27 insurgents this morning in the Nazyan district of Nangarhar province,” said a spokesman for the Nato-led International Security Force (ISAF) in eastern Afghanistan.
“Insurgents attacked a coalition patrol with small arms and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades). Air weapons teams responded immediately. There were no coalition or Afghan civilian deaths reported.” The Taliban were not immediately contactable for comment on the incident.
It is unclear if the “insurgents” were Taliban, Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, Hizb-i-Islami Khalis, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lakshar-e-Islam, al Qaeda, Tora Bora Military Front, Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, or another of the host of terror groups operating in the province.
US strike aircraft give ISAF and Afghan forces a clear edge against the Taliban; they often have proven to be the deciding factor during battles at remote outposts, particularly in the rugged mountains of the east. As ISAF forces begin to draw down, the number of air weapons teams on station will decrease as well.
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