US Air Force F-22 Raptors are wreaking havoc on the Taliban in Afghanistan, having conducted their first operation mission against drug depots run by the militant group, the US Defense Department announced Monday.
The Raptors were joined by B-52 Stratofortresses and Afghan Air Force A-29 Super Tucanos during a Sunday mission to cut off a key source of revenue for the Taliban.
According to US Army Gen. John Nicholson, chief of NATO’s Resolute Support mission to aid the US campaign against the Taliban, the F-22 was used “because of its ability to deliver precision munitions… it wasn’t because of some of the other capabilities of the aircraft.”
Specifically, the Raptor unloaded a 250-pound, small-diameter munition on a Taliban complex in which two of three buildings were suspected of being essential to a narcotics drug running operation in Musa Qala, Nicholson said, speaking from Kabul.
“As you look at this strike, you’re going to see that inside this compound are multiple structures, and we destroy only two of them, while leaving the third standing, which we do to avoid collateral damage,” the general said.
The F-22 Raptors took off from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, which the Pentagon only admitted to operating from in late August.
The US coalition has dropped more munitions on enemy combatants in Afghanistan in 2017 than any year since 2012, Nicholson said.