Massive US bomb will have "no effect" on Afghanistan situation

Afghanistan's former president has condemned the "brutal misuse of our country" as a weapons testing ground

Massive US bomb will have "no effect" on Afghanistan situation

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb. Image: ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

Donald Trump has been warned the 'mother of all bombs' he dropped on Afghanistan will make no difference to the situation on the ground in Afghanistan.

Security experts have warned that it will take more than air attacks to eradicate the threat of ISIS militants in the region.

The commander of US forces in Afghanistan has claimed the deployment of the huge bomb on an ISIS controlled network of caves in the east of the country achieved its purpose.

The Afghanistan Defence Ministry said 36 militants were killed out of an estimated force of up to 800 fighters in the area.

Absolutely no effect

On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, international relations expert and University of Birmingham professor Scott Lucas said the strike will have absolutely no effect on the situation on the ground.

“We have gone more than 15-and-a-half years since the Taliban were ousted and the fact is they control still about a third of the country,” he said. “The only way you challenge that is on the ground.”

“You either have an effective response through Afghan forces and the support of US forces there or you actually reach a settlement with the Taliban - which is where I think we are going to wind up.

“Hitting the Islamic State temporarily might remove an irritant but it is like basically scratching your arm when your leg has already fallen off.”

Mother of All Bombs

The bomb was the biggest non-nuclear device ever deployed by the US - with the impact shaking the ground and smashing windows as far as 2km away.

Mr Lucas said President Trump is unlikely to have authorised the attack personally – adding that the move is part of a wider US policy change which hands the Pentagon far greater authority to carry out air-strikes.

He said the Pentagon may now be authorised to carry out strikes, “anywhere from Yemen to Somalia or even in Pakistan next to Afghanistan although I doubt the US would ever go that far.”

The 10,000kg bomb has been in development since 2003 – and Mr Lucas suggested yesterday’s attack provided an opportunity to “battle test” its capabilities.

Afghanistan's former president Hamid Karsai was among the first politicians to condemn the attack - taking to Twitter to say his country should not be used as a testing ground for American weapons:

The former vice chief of staff for the US Army, General Jack Keane said the deployment shows America's military strength.

“Politically and diplomatically it sends another message that the United States is willing to use its biggest bomb to accomplish a military objective and it strengthens the hands of our diplomats.” 

North Korea

Mr Lucas warned however, that the bomb will have little effect when it comes to international disputes - such as the deepening diplomatic situation with North Korea.

“You don’t change the political calculus just by dropping a bomb,” he said. “Unlike the Islamic state in Afghanistan, North Korea can retaliate against other countries in the region - if not US forces if the American’s ever tried to strike.”

“If you were to try to use this bomb in Iraq and Syria for example against the Islamic State you still don’t deal with the fundamental problems in those countries - for example the Assad regime in Syria or the ongoing attempt to gain legitimacy in Iraq on the ground.

“I think it is actually very dangerous to try to connect the dots and say North Korea is next.

You can listen back to Pat's conversation with Mr Lucas here - and get the latest on the American reaction to the first 100 days of Donald Trump's presidency from Newstalk reporter Richard Chambers: