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Bomb usage in Afghanistan raises concerns

10-year-old native Afghan boy sells eggs for $2 a piece on the street with hopes of supporting his family. Photo credit: Ariana Haider

10-year-old native Afghan boy sells eggs for $2 a piece on the street with hopes of supporting his family. Photo credit: Ariana Haider

10-year-old native Afghan boy sells eggs for $2 a piece on the street with hopes of supporting his family. Photo credit: Ariana Haider

Ariana Haider

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In April, President Donald Trump released the largest and most powerful nonnuclear bomb to date on Afghanistan. The bomb is nicknamed the “Mother Of All Bombs (MOAB)” according to CNN news.

“I’m really very good at war. I love war, in a certain way,” exclaimed Trump during his candidacy as president in a campaign rally in Iowa. Indeed, this may be one of the few statements Trump has made that he has actually meant.

During the campaign, Trump and Hillary Clinton barely mentioned Afghanistan. Yet, Trump took very drastic measures.

The target of the “MOAB” was an ISIS cave and a decades old tunnel complex in the Achin district of the Nangarhar Province of Eastern Afghanistan.

“The United States takes the fight against ISIS very seriously and in order to defeat the group we must deny them operational space, which we did,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday from a excerpt from Business Insider.

While measures such as this one may have seemed necessary to display the strength of the U.S. to opposing terrorist organizations, it seemed to have caused fatal backlash as well.

The next day, at least 20 Afghan Army soldiers were killed and 30 were wounded in the 209th Corps in Balkh Province in Northern Afghanistan, reported Ahmad Javed Salim, a spokesman for the Afghan Army’s commando forces who was at the scene of the attack, according to the New York Times.

After decades of Afghanistan being at war with the Soviets and then later following the Taliban rule, Afghanistan is a war-torn and an already vulnerable country that was simply an easy target for the military to unleash its deadly weapons and utilize the land as testing grounds.

While the target of the bomb was the ISIS group in Afghanistan, this bomb was created to cause physical as well as psychological damage simultaneously damaging everything within a 1-mile radius from the epicenter of the blast, according to IFL Science.

While the bomb did manage to kill 36 Islamic State Militants, the tunnels that were blasted were built below residential houses, according to The Los Angeles Times. It is incontestable that this one way or another has affected civilians.

The dropping of this bomb should not have been authorized by Trump. Not only did this 20,000-pound monster reportedly cost $314 million to develop, it has endangered the lives of the thousands of innocent civilians who will have to live with the effects of this bombing for the rest of their lives, if not for generations to come.

As a first-generation Afghan-American and the daughter of two Afghan refugees, I have been able to witness the effects of war first-hand. I have had to helplessly watch my relatives cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to the countless bombings they have witnessed and endured throughout their lives. All while growing up and thinking war in my parents’ homeland, the place where my roots are tied, is completely normal.

Every time I turn on the news I have this fear ingrained in my mind that another bombing will be announced and that one of my relatives may will become a statistic and just another “casualty”.

My mother witnessed her little sister develop severe Schizophrenia at an abnormally young age due to constant bombing and the stress that comes with it during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the early 1980’s.

The bomb that was used was most powerful non-nuclear bomb ever dropped. Originally, the Pentagon considered using this bomb in Iraq in 2003. However, It was never used because it was decided that the potential civilian harm outweighed the potential military gain said Marc Garlasco, a former senior targeting official in the Bush-era Pentagon, according to The Intercept.

While the bomb was successful in killing 36 reported militants, the collateral damage may be far greater. There are estimated to be thousands of ISIS militants, the 36 reportedly killed is a small number in comparison considering the harmful effects and the potential collateral damage of the bomb.

Recently, Trump has granted greater leeway to commanders in Iraq and Syria. He has relaxed some of the rules for preventing civilian casualties when the military carries out counterterrorism strikes in Somalia and Yemen, according to the New York Times. There is no reason to think that Afghanistan is any exception.

The use of this bomb also drew condemnation from former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai.

“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,” Karzai wrote on Twitter.

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