Drones are firing more weapons than conventional warplanes for the first time in Afghanistan and the ratio is rising, previously unreported US Air Force data for 2015 show, underlining how reliant the military has become on unmanned aircraft.

The data show strikes by unmanned aircraft accounted for 56% of weapons deployed by the air force in Afghanistan in 2015, up dramatically from 5% in 2011.

In the first quarter of 2016, about 300 weapons were deployed by the air force, with drones accounting for 61%.

The trend may give clues to the US military’s strategy as it considers withdrawing more troops from the country, while at the same time shoring up local forces who have struggled to stem a worsening Taliban insurgency.

In 2015, drones released about 530 bombs and missiles in Afghanistan, half the number in 2014 when weapons dropped by unmanned aircraft peaked.

The 2015 total is, however, almost double the number of bombs and missiles released by drones at the height of the “surge”, when the Nato mission expanded to well over 100,000 troops, mainly Americans, after 2009.

Read More- The Guardian

Image courtesy of Reuters