U.S. Afghanistan commander Gen. John “Mick” Nicholson says that in the first “significant” use of expanded authorities he is now able to target the source of the Taliban’s power: Its estimated $200 million annual income from opium sales.
Under President Barack Obama, U.S. commanders were barred from conducting offensive airstrikes against the Taliban. Airstrikes had to be defensive and conducted in proximity to Afghan forces on the ground.
Under President Trump’s new strategy, the U.S. is free to seek and destroy the drug labs that are the lifeblood of the Taliban, in the same way the U.S. targeted oil trucks, refineries and cash storage that provided a steady stream of revenue for ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria.
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