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Why the Demilitarization of Afghanistan is Far From Over

Why the Demilitarization of Afghanistan is Far From Over

A little over a month ago, the United States dropped the “Mother of All Bombs” on the Nangarhar province in Afghanistan. Dropped onto caves in the Achin district of Nangarhar Province, which is home to 1.5 million people, the bomb was reported to have killed over 90 ISIS militants. The civilian casualties still remain unclear.

The significance of this bombing is not concentrated on immediate impact, but rather the implications inherent in its deployment. MOAB was no regular bomb you see. As part of Trump’s agenda to “bomb the shit out of ISIS,” it was the first combat use of  GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, the largest non-nuclear bomb that the world has ever seen. Weighing at 21,600 pounds, MOAB cost taxpayers $170,000, and was developed during the Iraq War presumably to be dropped onto Iraqis.

Many see such attacks on the former fortress of Kabul as an indication that the transition to Afghan self-governance is failing, while many Afghan’s resign it to over 40 years violent bloodshed agitated by foreign powers.

Trump is currently weighing sending 5,000 additional soldiers to Afghanistan, to inflate the number of total U.S. troops in the country to 13,000.

Yesterday, a truck bomb killed 80 and wounded at least 463 in the heart of Kabul. Zanbaq Square, in the bustling Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood, was filled with civilians during the rush hour attack. President Ashraf Ghani’s palace windows were shattered and staff members from the nearby German, Japanese and Pakistani embassies have been injured. This blast followed a Monday evening suicide blast, killing 11, in predominantly Shi’a areas of Baghdad.

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While these attacks are not new, they are significant given the myth of demilitarization in the region. Over three years ago, David Cameron hailed that Afghanistan was “mission accomplished” with President Obama formally following suit nearly a year later.

Many see such attacks on the former fortress of Kabul as an indication that the transition to Afghan self-governance is failing, while many Afghan’s resign it to over 40 years violent bloodshed agitated by foreign powers. It would be difficult not to, considering that media coverage on the attacks pale in comparison to that of last week’s attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Profile pictures aren’t changing across your screen and although there is a Facebook Safety Check for the attack, its impact diminishes when only 12 percent of the affected population has access to the internet. “We watched the world tire of our forever war and forget us”, Ali Latifi wrote in an April Op-Ed about MOAB in the New York Times. Surely this could not feel more true today.

 

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