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US tanks head for Afghanistan

Posted by The Agonist on November 19th, 2010

From our partners at The Agonist

Helmand Province, Afghanistan | November 19

The Guardian – The US is sending battle tanks to Afghanistan for the first time in the nine-year war against the Taliban, the Washington Post reported today.

Citing unnamed officers and defence officials, the paper said General David Petraeus, the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, approved the move last month.

“The deployment of a company of M1 Abrams tanks, which will be fielded by the marines in the country’s south-west, will allow ground forces to target insurgents from a greater distance – and with more of a lethal punch – than is possible from any other US military vehicle,” the Post said.

The initial deployment called for 16 tanks to be used in parts of Helmand province, where marines and Taliban guerrillas were fighting, the paper said.

The 68-tonne tanks are propelled by a jet engine and equipped with a 120mm main gun that can destroy a house more than a mile away.

AFP: A US defence official told the Washington Post earlier that the development was “pretty significant” although conceded that by deploying tanks so late in the conflict could be seen as a sign of desperation.

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