On Thursday 04/13/17 the United States has dropped its largest conventional bomb on an alleged ISIS stronghold in the Achin district of Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan. This was the first time that the “Mother Of All Bombs” was used outside of a testing facility.
The bomb officially called GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb weighs an astonishing 21,000 lbs and has the power to destroy anything within nearly one mile radius. Even though the bomb is non-nuclear it is certainly a weapon of mass-destruction. The development of the “Mother Of All Bombs” cost 300 million dollars. A single bomb costs $16,000 million.
(Our “Mother Of All Bombs” is the second most powerful conventional / non-nuclear bomb in the world. Russia developed – and has at its disposal – the most powerful non-nuclear bomb, called Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power which so far has never been used in combat.)
President Trump described the Afghanistan bombing as: “another very, very successful mission.”
According to reports, the government of Afghanistan was informed of the bombing in advance. Afghanistan’s former president, Hamid Karzai, was quick to condemn the latest bombing on Twitter: “This is not the war on terror but the inhuman and most brutal misuse of our country as testing ground for new and dangerous weapons.”
In the latest update, the Afghan military reported that 36 ISIS-Khorasan and Taliban fighters (out of estimated 800) were killed by the U.S. MOAB which has also destroyed three out of four tunnels which enabled the fighters to move around undetected. (The tunnels were an important asset to ISIS and Taliban.) No civilian casualties were reported. In contrast, last week’s missile attack on Syria killed 18 American allies in the fight against Islamic State terrorists.
The overall outcome of the two latest U.S. military actions suggests that both are largely statements of the U.S. power and the President’s willingness to use it.
While the tense situation in North Korea looms large, President Trump said in an interview: “North Korea is a problem. The problem will be taken care of.” Hopefully by political – not military – means. The use of military power is not a substitute for a sound, long-term foreign policy and not the only way to exercise power. Diplomacy is a safer, not to mention cheaper option.