Much as the USAF would like it to be otherwise, air power simply isn't precise enough for effective COIN operations. If you still have to rely on air power six years in, you're maybe not losing but you certainly aren't winning. Now, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has had enough.
Karzai said that six years after the U.S.-led invasion the Afghan people ``cannot comprehend as to why there is still a need for air power.''Use of air power to bolster ground forces' hitting power is up in Iraq too - with exactly the same consequences of unwanted and unnecessary civilan casualties.
``The United States and the coalition forces are not (killing civilians) deliberately. The United States is here to help the Afghan people,'' Karzai told the U.S. news program ``60 Minutes'' for a story scheduled to air Sunday night.
Asked if he wants the use of airstrikes curtailed, Karzai replies, ``Absolutely. Oh, yes, in clear words and I want to repeat that, (there are) alternatives to the use of air force.''
At least 700 civilians have died because of insurgency-related violence this year, and about half of those deaths were caused by U.S. or NATO military action, often because of airstrikes hitting civilian homes, according to an Associated Press tally based on numbers from Afghan and Western officials.