A U.S. Special Forces team and 1,000 anti-Taliban Afghan fighters
were advancing on the Kandahar airport one cold November evening in 2001 as Air Force Lt. Col. Tom Lawhead peered from the cockpit of his F-16 fighter-bomber. Even with night-vision goggles, the commander of the 389th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron found it difficult to determine whether the coalition force 15,000 feet below was making progress toward its objective--to cut the city's main highway to the Pakistan border. To complicate matters, one of Lawhead's flight leaders had spotted a convoy moving behind a nearby ridge. The anti-Taliban Afghans had already lost radio contact with a scouting party they had sent ahead, so no one knew if the approaching vehicles were the returning scouts or an enemy ambush.
This article was originally published with the title Satellite-Guided Munitions.