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Operation Achilles: Leaflet airdrop delivers message to Taliban

by Staff Sgt. Carlos Diaz
U.S. Central Command Air Forces Public Affairs


3/6/2007 - Southwest Asia (AFNEWS) -- The message was clear and well delivered. 

A C-130 Hercules airdrop mission dropped 30,000 warning leaflets over the mountainous terrain of southeastern Afghanistan March 6 to deter the insurgent activity of the Taliban. 

The warning leaflet airdrop mission was in direct support of Operation Achilles launched March 6 by the International Security Assistance Force to create a secure environment that'll enable the Government of Afghanistan to help the country's people. 

The warning leaflets were used in support of a ground task force to communicate with Taliban extremists, warning them not to interfere with Coalition activities. 

"We're trying to gain the edge over the enemy," said Maj. Michael Lucas, chief of the Air Mobility Division's tactics section at the Combined Air Operations Center. 

Airdropping leaflets "helps the cause without using firepower and can aid our Coalition partners in capturing enemy forces," Major Lucas said.

To deliver the leaflet's message to the enemy, an aircrew from the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing in the Persian Gulf region, took off in the early hours.
 
In the first leg of the mission, the 9-man aircrew picked up the warning leaflets from ISAF personnel at an air base in Afghanistan. 

Armed with three boxes chock-full of warning leaflets, the loadmasters prepared themselves with harnesses and buddy checks. 

Once over the target site, Tech. Sgt. Aaron Jennings tossed the first of two boxes out of the right-side parachute door of the C-130. 

The warning leaflets were dropped out in small boxes tethered to the aircraft. After the boxes were released and the tether fully extended, the boxes popped open.

Then, Airman 1st Class Josh Huffman tossed 10,000 warning leaflets out over the second target site. 

Like confetti, the warning leaflets scattered into the air, fulfilling the mission. 

According to ISAF, air and ground operations, such as the leaflet drop, will focus on improving security in areas where Taliban extremists, narco-traffickers and other elements are trying to de-stabilize the Government of Afghanistan. 

Operations are intended to empower village elders to take charge of their communities as they have been doing so in other parts of southern Afghanistan, without the influence of Taliban extremists.



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