This is interesting. According to the AP, the U.S. military is bringing heavy armor into the fight in Afghanistan for the first time ever:
Two senior defense officials say 14 M1A1 Abrams tanks and 115 additional Marines will be deployed next month.
While Abrams were used extensively in Iraq, the Afghan fight has often seen troops using lighter, nimbler vehicles capable of scrambling along the mountainous country’s notoriously primitive roads — more like paths — or using helicopters to travel quickly and bypass the danger from IEDs.
Now, as the Marines push harder into enemy territory, they’ll bring serious ground firepower with them:
The officials said Friday this is a first for the U.S. in the 9-year-old war, though Canadians and Danish troops have already used the huge, heavily armored combat vehicles in Afghanistan.
Officials say the tanks will help Marines keep insurgents away from key population areas and help troops move into insurgent safe havens. Officials say the tanks can bring extra protection and added firepower and help troops observe key routes where militants place roadside bombs.
This seems like yet another indication of how the fight is getting tougher and more intense over there.
– John Reed