The Kabul government has defended the dropping of “Mother of All Bombs” by U.S. forces Thursday on suspected Daesh hideouts in eastern Afghanonistan bordering Pakistan, killing 36 Daesh militants. Neither the US nor the Afghan Government has released information on civilian deaths because of the MOAB bombing.
“In this aerial bombing of Daesh centers, tunnels and hideouts in the Achin district, for which the Afghan government was taken into confidence, Daesh militants and enemies of Afghanistan have sustained heavy casualties,” President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said in a statement Friday.
However, others have condemned the dropping of the biggest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan.
“I find the use of the largest non-nuclear bomb, the so called “mother of all bombs”, on our soil reprehensible and counterproductive,” Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal said on Twitter. “If big bombs were the solution we would be the most secure place on earth today.”
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai also condemned the use of the MOAB bomb.
“I vehemently and in strongest words condemn the dropping of the latest weapon, the largest non-nuclear #bomb, on Afghanistan by US military. 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. It is upon us, Afghans, to stop the USA,” he said on Twitter.
Since February, government forces in Afghanistan have been waging an intensive operation against the militants in Nangarhar, where Achin is located. Just last week, a U.S. Special Forces member was killed in Nangarhar fighting Daesh.
According to U.S. Forces Afghanistan, the bomb was dropped at 7:32 p.m. local time Thursday on a tunnel complex in Achin. Officially known as a GBU-43B, or massive ordnance air blast weapon, the mega-bomb unleashes 11 tons of explosives.
The Afghan Defense Ministry confirmed 36 Daesh fighters were killed in the strike.
Arg, the presidential palace in Kabul, said early Friday that U.S. and NATO forces were in close coordination with Afghan officials prior to dropping this largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the U.S. military.
The Ghani administration has repeatedly vowed stern action against Daesh, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups while keeping doors open for talks with the Taliban only.
Ghani stressed that thanks to close coordination, the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces and the international forces in Afghanistan have largely avoided civilian casualties during such offensives.
“Fundamentalism and terrorism are major obstacles to peace, stability, and development for the region and the world, so it should be dealt with using a clear strategy without differentiating between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorism,” he said.