The Afghan government wants the US to redeploy the A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft to bolster efforts in the fight against the Taliban, according to a Military Times report.
A senior Afghan defense official said that the government wants the vaunted A-10, which is highly regarded for its durability and lethal capacity in close-air-support operations, to return to Afghanistan.
No decision on A-10 deployments has been made, according to Air Force Brig. Gen. Lance Bunch, who directs US air operations in Afghanistan. "The discussions of what forces we move to Afghanistan or drawdown from Iraq and Syria are all ongoing," Bunch said.
After the liberation of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria in July and October, respectively, operations against Daesh in those two countries, in which the A-10 played a major role, have begun to wind down.
President Trump has also started to pursue an expansion of US operations in Afghanistan over the latter half of the year and the Air Force may see increased operations in Afghanistan as a part of that expansion.
The Air Force has deployed six more F-16 fighter aircraft — bringing the total to 18 F-16s — and a KC-135 tanker aircraft to Afghanistan in recent months, according to the report.
The numbers of weapons released by US combat aircraft in Afghanistan have hit highs not seen since the 2010 surge.
Air Forces Central Command data released in October showed 751 weapons dropped in September, eclipsing the 503 released in August and set a new five-year high.
US forces in Afghanistan have also turned their attention to the Taliban's involvement in the drug trade to cut into the insurgent group's financing.