US Sending Tanks to Afghanistan for First Time

The 68-ton machines have a main gun that can destroy a home a mile away

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 19, 2010 8:41 AM CST

(Newser) – The US military is deploying a company of heavily armored tanks to Afghanistan for the first time in the nine-year war, in response to the ever-more intense opposition NATO is encountering from the Taliban. Marines in the southwest will get a batch of M1 Abrams tanks, which will allow them to zero in on targets at a greater distance, and with more force, the Washington Post reports. These 68-ton machines are propelled by jet engines, and have a main gun that can destroy a house from more than a mile away. “The tanks bring awe, shock, and firepower,” gushed one officer.

Though the US is employing a counterinsurgency strategy that emphasizes protecting civilians, forces have also been flexing their military might recently. NATO forces fired off more bombs and missiles in October than in any month since 2001, and recently they’ve employed once sparingly-used tools like high-explosive line charges. They’ve also stepped up controversial Special Operations night raids. “We’ve taken the gloves off, and it has had a huge impact,” said one senior official.

An Abrams tank drives on the new track at the US military's first center for sustained high-speed vehicle testing during a ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Sept. 8, 2010 in Aberdeen, Md.   (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
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