Though the US administration under President Obama has not pursued the war-hungry policies of his predecessor, former president George W Bush, a new report from a reputed think-tank, Council of Foreign Relations has said the US had dropped 72 bombs every day, that's three bombs every hour, in 2016.
President Obama ascended presidency with the promise that US would not engage in any international conflicts, but the think-tank noted that seven countries were bombed in 2016 including Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. The US dropped as many as 26,171 bombs across the 7 countries.
However, the report cautioned that the estimate of number of bombs dropped could be actually lower since the data is based only on airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya.
Syria and Iraq
After hesitantly supporting the anti-Assad rebel forces, the US lately realised that it had allowed a bigger monster, Islamic State (IS/ISIL/ISIS/Daesh) to occupy swathes of territory with zero opposition from demoralised Iraqi or Syrian forces. US had to act and act fast. Obama then empowered US jets to pound IS strongholds. The majority of the bombs the US dropped in 2016 were in this territory, aimed to thwart IS designs and expansion.
According to CFR, ISIS has dropped 22,110 bombs in Syria and Iraq.
In Afghanistan, Obama ordered the end of Operation Enduring Freedom and thus the war on Al-Qaida and Taliban, which resulted in the casualties of 2,380 US soldiers. After a majority of NATO, ISF and US troops were out, the Taliban began to take over those territories, prompting the US to launch anti-insurgency operations and target Taliban and Al-Qaida hideouts. In 2016, the US dropped 1,337 bombs, more than it had in 2015.
Pakistan with its porous border with Afghanistan has several tribal areas controlled by Taliban and other terrorist elements. Pakistan is known to have actively supported the Taliban government and giving refuge to Osama Bin Laden and his followers. The CFR report noted that US dropped only three bombs in Pakistan; the most famous being the drone strike that killed Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour in Balochistan.
In 2015, US had dropped 11 bombs.
The US supports the Somalian federal government against the Al Shabab militants. US government under Obama has used drones and manned aircraft to target these terrorists.
CFR reports that 14 bombs were dropped in Somalia. This is less that in 2015, when it dropped 18 bombs.
For several years, the US had targeted Al-Qaida terrorists in Yemen and in 2016, despite the ongoing civil war between the Shia dominant Houthis and the Saudi-backed federal government, the US has dropped 34 bombs.
Since the removal of Gen Gaddafi from power in 2011, parts of Libya fell in the hands of rebels hostile to US, jihadists and groups affiliated with IS. According to the CFR, US has dropped 496 bombs in the region.