Yesterday’s big news was the dropping of MOAB, the “Mother of all bombs,” in Afghanistan.
The drop of the 22,000 pound GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb targeted ISIS tunnels and personnel in the Achin district at around 7pm, Afghanistan time.
This morning, the Afghan defense ministry is giving an assessment of the damages, noting that this was a coordinated event between the U.S. and Afghanistan officials, with all precautions taken to spare civilians.
In a press briefing on Friday, Gen John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said: “We have US forces at the site and we see no evidence of civilian casualties nor have there been reports.”
The Afghan defence ministry said the bomb struck a village area in the Momand valley where IS fighters were using a 300m-long network of caves.
The initial report of damages is that 36 ISIS militants were killed. Also, their base and a large stash of weapons were destroyed.
Presidential spokesman Shah Hussain Murtazawi told the BBC that IS commander Siddiq Yar was among those killed. Mr Murtazawi said the IS fighters in the tunnels had “come from Pakistan and were persecuting people in the local area”.
Well, let’s play a dirge for Siddiq.
A member of an anti-IS group in the area who gave his name only as Mohammad told the BBC he was at a checkpoint 1km from the bomb strike.
He said: “We were eating dinner when we heard a big explosion, [I] came out of my room and saw a mountain of fire… the area was full of light with the fire of the bomb.”
He said all civilians had left the area since the start of the anti-IS operation.
Hamid Karzai, former president of Afghanistan took to Twitter to condemn the dropping of the MOAB as “inhuman” and suggested that the U.S. was simply using Afghanistan as a testing ground.
Well, I think the acts of ISIS are “inhuman” and this “test” took out 3 dozen of them, so, test passed.
This is actually one bombing I have no qualms about. It was the right target, for the right reasons.
That being said, we need to be perfectly clear.
The good news, of course, is the destruction of that base and those weapons. Perhaps the citizens from that district can return, now, and reclaim their homes.
The bad news is that ISIS is not a nation, where sanctions or bombings can eradicate them. ISIS is an ideology that has spread to regions far from the Middle East.
They recruit online, are especially popular with young people, and their influence can cause some of the most “normal” seeming people to do horrible things to support the cause.
How many ISIS-inspired attacks have there been around the world in the last few years? Some of them have even been here in the United States.
ISIS is the new war on terrorism, and conventional means will not end it.
Yesterday’s MOAB blast will be used as a recruitment tool, no doubt.
With this being Holy week for Christians and Jews around the world, you can expect increased activity, so I urge everyone to be very aware of your surroundings.
This fight has just begun.