Air Weapons: March 22, 2002


: US strike planners used a new tactic in the Afghan War: deliberately triggered avalanches. By having geologists study the terrain through recon photos, they could pick out areas that were "rockslides waiting to happen". If Taliban or al Qaeda troops were downhill from these areas, bombs were targeted to hit the mountainsides to trigger huge waves of crushed rock. Doing this provided surprise, as the targeted troops did not realize they were under attack when bombs landed a mile or two away from them. In one case, a large concentration of troops in a forested area could not be accurately targeted with bombs, but sending thousands of tons of rock into the forest destroyed the unit. --Stephen V Cole


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