Trump Violates the Afghan People’s Sovereignty and Targets the Civilian Population with MOAB

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Chairperson
International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
April 20, 2017

The International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS) condemns in the strongest terms the latest US attack in Afghanistan using the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat.  The April 13 air strike was completely unjustified. It was done with complete disregard for the national sovereignty of the Afghan people and with disproportionate force against the civilian population.

Its sole purpose was patently to showcase US imperialism’s weapons for mass destruction and capacity to cause carnage with impunity in violation of international law. As in the earlier air strike against Syria on April 5, US President Donald Trump issued the orders, making himself a war criminal, wantonly violating the sovereignty of another country and destroying the lives and property of the people.

The GBU-43/B bomb (Massive Ordinance Air Blast) dropped by a US cargo plane on an alleged Daesh stronghold in eastern Afghanistan is nicknamed MOAB or the “mother of all bombs” by the US military.  The MOAB weighs 21,000 lbs  and has a one-mile blast radius.  It has to be delivered by a huge plane, like the C-130 Hercules, primarily the MC-130E Combat Talon I or MC-130H Combat Talon II variants,which are easy target for states like Iran and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that have good air defense systems. It can be used in a cowardly and expensive way against countries that do not have such systems.

The MOAB was developed in the lead up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 but was never used in combat due to the costliness, vulnerability and potential scale of collateral damage it could do in densely populated areas.  The MOAB’s intensive blast wave can obliterate anyone caught within its blast radius and ignite the oxygen in underground spaces, like tunnels or caves.  So US military commanders wanted to test it’s power in the tunnels, bunkers and base camps dug into Afghan mountains, many of which were built by the Mujahidin funded by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the war against Soviet social imperialism.  

The avowed purpose was clearly to  test and demonstrate the raw power of this ordinance  on the flimsy pretext of targeting a small militia of the ISIS in a geographically isolated corner of Afghanistan rather than the Taliban which is by far the more formidable fighting force in the country.  The few scores of ISIS fighters reportedly killed by the MOAB posed absolutely no threat to the US to justify such a gigantic attack.  The attack was in fulfilment of Trump’s campaign promise to “bomb the shit out of them” and to “go after their families”.  

But another obvious purpose is to boost the stocks of the US weapons makers. They are applauding Trump.  Most elated is the Alabama-based Dynetics, Inc. which was commissioned to manufacture the MOAB at the cost of $16 million per monstrous piece. The whole military industrial complex is eagerly expecting to divvy up the $639 billion US military budget for 2018, ten per cent more than what they got last year.  

It is not just the military expenditure that is rising.  Air strikes by US and US-backed Afghan forces increased by 50% in 2016 killing 590 civilians – almost double the number they killed in 2015.  Not only are these air strikes by US forces becoming more frequent, they are also targeting more populated areas of the country.  Altogether 11,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan last year, of whom 3,512 were children.  

After nearly 16 years of trying to subjugate the entire Afghan population and prop up a puppet government with no success in sight, US imperialism is now raising the threshold of violence in the country – exemplified by the MOAB explosion last week.  This is against a people already brutalized by over three decades of imperialist aggression, first by Soviet social imperialism followed by the US.  

True to the plundering character of monopoly capitalism, the overriding interest of the US and other imperialist powers is to dominate and control Afghanistan because of its strategic position between the huge oil and gas resources of Central Asia and the large fuel consumers China and India.  Afghanistan itself has potential sources of strategic raw materials such as coal, gas, oil, copper, gold, silver, zinc, lithium and others.  

It was the CIA that organized, trained and funded Afghan jihadists as a surrogate force to overthrow the pro-Soviet government in Kabul and then later to kick out Soviet troops.  Some of these jihadist groups eventually gave birth to the Taliban which, together with Osama Bin Laden, became the excuse for the US to invade the country in 2003 in the name of waging a “war on terror”.  But after 16 years of US occupation, the Taliban now controls 15% more territory than it did in 2015 while the US-backed Afghan government controls no more than 60 percent of the country.  Despite the most advanced weaponry and extreme brutality of US imperialism, Afghanistan is proving to be the graveyard of empires.

The ILPS calls on all-freedom loving peoples of the world to condemn the escalation of war and indiscriminate violence by the US and US-led forces in Afghanistan and the entire region.  The ILPS calls on all its member organizations and allies to issue statements of condemnation and carry out mass actions against the latest acts of US aggression which are creating more tension and disorder in the world.

We are hopeful that the people of Afghanistan will eventually achieve national and social liberation by having a revolutionary party of the proletariat, a people´s army and a broad united front of anti-imperialist and democratic forces. While they take their destiny into their own hands, the people of Afghanistan need the support of the world proletariat and people against imperialism, our common enemy.###

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