MOAB Caused More Damage in Kabul Than in Achin
The use of “mother of all bombs” in a remote area in Afghanistan on Thursday might have killed a couple of alleged IS-K fighters and destroyed a few caves, but its real damage is more evident in Kabul.
Former Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, has called the MOAB strike “cruel and inhumane abuse of Afghan territory”, has accused President Ashraf Ghani’s Government of “treason”, and has vowed to “oust the U.S.” from Afghanistan. There might also be other Afghan leaders who agree with Mr. Karzai but who do not voice their disgust so loud and public.
Ironically, President Ghani has not said a word, personally, about the unprecedented MOAB strike. Hours after the strike news made headlines and even President Trump called it a “success”, Mr. Ghani’s Office only issued four terse tweets in English and a Pashto statement a day after. In the first hours after the strike’s news broke out, Afghan officials — in Kabul and in Nangarhar Province — had no idea what had taken place.
The U.S. has bombed Afghanistan in abundance over the past 16 years, but what made the Achin strike historic is the fact that MOAB was used for the very first time — the most powerful nonnuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal.
This bomb is not even used against the IS tunnels in Syria and Iraq.
For Afghans, as Mr. Karzai decried, the MOAB strike signifies a blow to their national dignity. Some feel their country is abused as a testing ground for the most deadly bombs.
The use of MOAB in Afghanistan happens to be at a time when the White House has rated Bashar al-Asad even worse than Adolf Hitler for the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. This means, albeit in pure political spin, that dropping “mother of all bombs” in another country is “success” and the alleged use of Sarin gas by a government in its territory is barbaric.
Politically, too, the MOAB strike was awkward in timing. Russia, China, Iran and several other regional states met in Moscow on Friday in an effort to find “peace” for Afghanistan while the U.S., refusing to participate in talks for peace talks, dropped “mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan. Was the message — ‘sorry guys! we can’t talk peace because we’re too busy bombing the heck out of Afghanistan!’?