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Military

Airmen drop 80,000 leaflets over Afghanistan

by Senior Airman Clark Staehle
379th Air Expeditionary Wing

5/25/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- Crewmembers with the 746th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron here participated in a leaflet drop over Afghanistan May 21 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The crew from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, dropped 80,000 leaflets on four parts of the area of responsibility known to be inhabited by the Taliban in an effort to send specific messages to the enemy.

"We dropped 6-by-4 inch leaflets," said Capt. Keith Englin, a 746th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron C-130 Hercules pilot and mission commander for the flight. "In this case, it was over enemy territory."

On one side, the leaflet urged the Taliban to give up by stating, "The ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) are ridding Helmand of the foreign Taliban." Helmand is a province in Afghanistan where Taliban insurgents are said to be located.

On the other side, it reads, "The Taliban are commanded by foreigners who seek to destroy Afghanistan. There is no honor in fighting alongside the enemies of Afghanistan."

"In this case, we were trying to get a message to the Taliban -- their efforts are hopeless. We want them to know they're better off going home before they end up dead," Captain Englin said. "It sends a message to get people to comply peacefully before you have to use force."

For the crew, the leaflet drop was a change from the ordinary. Instead of dropping supplies to troops on the ground waiting to receive the goods, they threw the boxes out the door of the plane, in the cover of night.

The crew flew from here to Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, where they picked up the 80,000 leaflets.

"(The leaflet drops) are different from what we normally do, because we're not talking to anyone on the ground," Captain Englin said. "Instead of hitting a specific spot like we normally do (with a standard airdrop), we're trying to hit a one kilometer radius."

"We've heard feedback from the Army that they're effective," the captain said. "We never know specifically how well we did on each drop. Normally when we drop to good guys on the ground, we have guys waiting and we get direct feedback. They say, 'We received your load,' or 'Your load was 200 yards off.'"

Flights like this require joint cooperation between the Army and the Air Force.

Army units on the ground contact Air Force units and request the drop, who in turn task airlift units throughout the area of responsibility for the leaflet drop.

"It was a good experience, and a good joint effort," Captain Englin said. "The (Soldiers) sometimes fly along with us to help us throw out the boxes. And also, it's good for them to see how it gets executed."

Overall the leaflet drop was successful and as we speak, the Taliban is reading the message and deciding their fate, said the pilot of the drop mission.

"In the end, it was an excellent performance by people across the entire AOR to get the mission finished," said Capt. Phillip Postell, the 746th EAS C-130 pilot for the mission.



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