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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:23 AM
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Afghan insurgents learn to avoid airstrikes
Afghan insurgents learn to avoid airstrikes
By Tom Vanden Brook - USA Today
Posted : Tuesday Jan 20, 2009 18:08:55 EST

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan Afghan insurgents have learned to attack U.S. troops and scatter before they can be hit by airstrikes, a change in tactics that creates new pressure on coalition ground forces, defense officials and military experts say.

Insurgents have a pretty good idea of how long it takes for close-air support to arrive, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said. Weve seen some indications that they will fight for as long as they believe they have until close-air support will likely arrive on the scene.

Military records show U.S. aircraft conducted a record number of aerial raids over Afghanistan in 2008 but dropped fewer bombs and missiles than they did in 2007.

The changing insurgent tactics have the potential to limit the effectiveness of air power and put more pressure on U.S. and coalition ground troops, said Loren Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute.

The war in Afghanistan is not the kind of conflict where air power can be used to maximum advantage, he said. Finding insurgents has proven devilishly difficult, and in Afghanistan, that often requires sending ground troops to flush them out.

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