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In Desperate Bid to Stop Taliban Offensive, Biden Begins Massive Bombing Campaign Supported by Gunships

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A major U.S. air campaign is underway in a last-ditch attempt to blunt the Taliban’s advance in the waning days of America’s commitment to Afghanistan.

President Joe Biden has said that the U.S. will end combat support to the Afghan government as of Aug. 31. The drawdown of troops Biden ordered served as a starting gun for a Taliban offensive that has pushed Afghan forces back in multiple places across the country.

The U.S. is throwing B-52 bombers, armed Reaper drones and A-130 gunships into the effort to slow the Taliban, according to a report in the Times of London. Up to five missions a day are being scheduled.

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The report said it was the first appearance by the venerable B-52s in over a year.

“This is about buying time,” said Gen. Joseph L. Votel, the former commander of United States Central Command, according to The New York Times. “It’s about blunting and slowing down the Taliban and helping the Afghans to get a little more organized.”

The NYT noted the departure of American contractors has significantly eroded the combat readiness of the Afghan air force.

The Taliban this week overran Zaranj in Nimroz, a southwest province adjacent to Iran. A battle for the city of Herat is now taking place, and B-52s are being used there, according to Arab News.

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On Friday, the United Nations compound in Herat was hit by grenades and gunfire, according to a statement from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

“This attack against the United Nations is deplorable, and we condemn it in the strongest terms,” said Deborah Lyons, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan.

Security analyst and retired colonel Mohammad Hassan said there were “worrying signs of an escalation in insecurity” across the country.

“It is getting worse day by day here,” he said. “The cancelation of flights to Herat and the fact that America has back started using B-52 are not good signs. It will cause more panic among people at large and shows the precariousness of the situation.”

Both the British and American governments on Saturday urged their citizens to leave Afghanistan.

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“Given the security conditions and reduced staffing, the Embassy’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is extremely limited even within Kabul,” a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said, according to Voice of America.

Votel told the New York Times that there is still hope.

“My personal belief is that the closer the Taliban get to the urban areas, I think the fighting gets more intense, and they can’t take advantage like they could in the rural areas,” he said.

“As they get to the built-up areas, where there’s leadership in place who will be fighting for their lives, I think those fights will become more difficult.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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