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Here’s the sad news of what ‘mother of all bombs’ did for U.S. fight in Afghanistan (Mc Clatchydc)

par Vera Bergengruen 4 Mai 2017, 02:46 Afghanistan "Mother of All Bomb" MOB USA Imperialism

 An Afghan security police officer at a destroyed house after an operation in Asad Khil near the site of a U.S. bombing in the Achin district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, April 17, 2017. U.S. forces in Afghanistan had struck an Islamic State tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan earlier in the week with the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the U.S. military, Pentagon officials said. Rahmat Gul AP.

An Afghan security police officer at a destroyed house after an operation in Asad Khil near the site of a U.S. bombing in the Achin district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, April 17, 2017. U.S. forces in Afghanistan had struck an Islamic State tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan earlier in the week with the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the U.S. military, Pentagon officials said. Rahmat Gul AP.

The use of the “mother of all bombs” on an underground network of Islamic State tunnels in a remote district in Afghanistan was a lot of hype with little long-term impact, according to many military analysts.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article147407244.html#storylink=cpy

Aerial view of world's most powerful non-nuclear bomb exploding in Afghanistan

The U.S. Department of Defense released video of the MOAB (mother of all bombs) GBU-43 explosion on ISIS forces in Afghanistan on Thursday.

Department of Defense

 

But the U.S. military has made no independent damage assessment, and the area is still an active combat zone. The U.S. military has restricted access to the site, turning away reporters and independent investigators.

Gunfire was audible in the background of a video from local Afghan police posted this week that showed the rubble left behind by the bombing, and a BBC reporter who was able to access the site reported that fighting continues close to where the bomb hit. U.S. planes, the reporter said, continue to strike around the site, suggesting that even after the powerful blast Islamic State militants remain in control of the area.

For months most of our drone program has been focused on the Islamic State (in Afghanistan). Why?

Marvin Weinbaum, a former State Department analyst for Afghanistan and Pakistan

Two U.S. military service members were killed in an anti-ISIS operation Wednesday night in the district where the bomb was dropped, and a third was wounded in action.

The U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. John Nicholson, has offered tough rhetoric on the Islamic State. The massive bomb was “sending a very clear message to ISIS . . . if they come here to Afghanistan, they will be destroyed,” he told a news conference in Kabul on Monday.

Many military analysts argue, however, that a U.S. focus on the Islamic State, which has about 1,000 fighters in Afghanistan, is picking the wrong target.

“For months most of our drone program has been focused on the Islamic State. Why? . . . It’s the Taliban who threaten our interests far and away more than the Islamic State does,” said Marvin Weinbaum, a former State Department analyst for Afghanistan and Pakistan and resident scholar at the Middle East Institute, a Washington think tank.

The lasting effect (of the massive bomb) is not so much strategic or tactical, but political.

Marvin Weinbaum, a former State Department analyst for Afghanistan and Pakistan

In the latest blow, suspected Taliban fighters killed more than 140 Afghan soldiers a week ago in what is believed to be the deadliest attack on Afghan forces since the U.S. and its allies toppled the Taliban in 2001 in retaliation for them sheltering al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

The Taliban also have retaken critical areas, including, last month, the Sangin district center in Helmand province, which dozens of British troops and U.S. Marines died defending just a few years ago.

“The military put out what I will say is a ridiculous press release, saying ‘No, no, the district wasn’t overrun,’ ” Roggio said. “If that is the attitude of the U.S. military toward the Taliban inside Afghanistan. we will continue to lose this war. . . . Our policy within Afghanistan is a mess.”

The bomb temporarily brought the increasingly forgotten war in Afghanistan, which is in its 16th year, back to the public’s attention. There are more U.S. military forces – about 8,400 troops – deployed to Afghanistan than to any other active combat zone.

“The lasting effect (of the GBU-43/B bomb) is not so much strategic or tactical, but political,” Weinbaum said. “With this and (the strikes in) Syria, the Trump administration is demonstrating that it is prepared to use the military much more freely, and that they have freed up the military to really set the pace and agenda. I think that is the message now.”

Except for the choice of larger weapons, which hasn’t had a significant impact, there is really little that Trump is doing in Afghanistan for now that is different from President Barack Obama, Weinbaum said.

“He doesn’t really have any options. . . . It’s inherited circumstances, which means just buying time for an Afghanistan which is good enough” to leave, he said.

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