A USAF F-16 was struck by the enemy in Eastern Afghanistan. Taliban have claimed responsibility of the said attack. Experts claim that it is rare instance for a $100 million F-16 to be struck by small arms. According to official reports, the USAF F-16 sustained considerable damage after the attack leading to a jettison of its fuel tanks and remaining munitions, upon which the jet returned to the base. The attack took place on Tuesday, last week but details on the news were missing. It was learned that USAF F-16 came under attack in the Sayid Karam district of eastern Paktia province, a large portion of which is controlled by Taliban.
The attack on USAF F-16 came days before President Obama’s announcement of keeping his forces in Afghanistan till at least 2017. Previously, President Obama claimed that US Forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan during his reign. It would seem that United States still has her hands full in dealing with Afghan Taliban. After the attack on USAF F-16 jet, the military group claimed that successfully shot it down however, there was no confirmation from the US Officials. Later, AFP was able to procure images of two jettisoned drop-tanks, an air-to-ground missile and two unguided bombs. Upon presenting these images to US military, a statement was issued to AFP late Saturday that said,
On October 13, a US F-16 encountered small arms fire in the Paktia Province of Afghanistan. The surface to air fire impacted on of the aircraft’s stabilizers and caused damage to one of the munitions. The pilot jettisoned two fuel tanks and three munitions before safely returning to base. The pilot received no injuries and safely returned to base.
While the Taliban have been responsible for shooting down several helicopters using small arms, an instance of using those arms to damage, let alone down an F-16 has never surfaced. A USAF F-16 flies at heights reaching 50,000 feet with supersonic speed therefore it is inconceivable to even think something of the sort could actually happen. While the US Military has abstained from an official comment as to the mission of its jet in the area, analysts suggest that the absence of friendly forces in the area would mean that the jet was providing cover to Special Operations Forces (SOF) and in doing so, was flying rather low; as low as few hundred feet above the ground. Sources confirm that there were other jets flying in the area. United States has already confirmed SOF in the area. At any rate, Taliban still pose considerable danger to US military and consequently to Afghanistan, and peace in the region.You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ for more updates. Otherwise fill in the subscription box above, or subscribe to our RSS Feed.