Contact: Afghans United for Justice, (646) 627-9402, firstname.lastname@example.org
Afghans United for Justice condemns the April 13, 2017 bombing of Achin district in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan.
Yesterday, a U.S. MC-130 aircraft dropped a 21,000-pound GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb on a town of almost 150,000 residents, with an intended target of an underground tunnel system allegedly held by ISIS. This is the largest non-nuclear bomb used in history. The bomb is not just a weapon to target people underground. It is a tool for psychological warfare. It is a weapon of mass destruction. It is a blast that destroys whatever is in its path for miles and causes severe hearing damage. At the time of this writing, an ongoing fire still rages due to the blast.
Along with the short-term damage and injury, Nangarhar province will be affected for generations to come from the toxic effects left behind by the bomb in its air, water, and soil. War is an environmental and health issue that affects us all. Our entire planet is saturated by toxins due to these bombings in the long term because we share the same atmosphere.
Though the US military, in collaboration with the Afghan government, claimed to target only ISIS operatives, the truth is that the innocent people living in Nangarhar will endure the effects of this bomb for decades to come. One resident told a local politician in Nangarhar: “I have grown up in the war, and I have heard different kinds of explosions through 30 years: suicide attacks, earthquakes different kinds of blasts. I have never heard anything like this.” The US military says it has killed 36 ISIS militants, but we don’t know the full extent of the destruction. As of April 14, Afghan and US officials have prevented reporters and local residents from approaching the site.
This bomb, like the drones, air strikes, night raids, and the destruction that came before it, is used as a tool for warfare that prevents the stability of people living in provinces all across the country. We must demand accountability for this war crime. Afghans have suffered 16 years of this so-called “War on Terror” illegally waged by the US and its allies. This war has worsened the chances for world peace. The MOAB was nicknamed as the “Mother Of All Bombs” but there is nothing mothering about this or any bomb. Mothering is about reproducing and protecting life—not killing and destroying it.
In 2016, when President Obama was still in office, the US dropped at least 1,337 bombs on Afghanistan, while the international community claimed the country was safe and forced thousands of refugees to return. And since Donald Trump took office, there were more than 150 strikes dropped on Afghanistan, with more than 100 airstrikes in just the first two weeks of April. The use of the MOAB bomb signals an escalation in an already protracted and vicious war that has cost Afghans their homeland.
Afghans United for Justice demands an end to the murder of our people and the poisoning of our land. We demand that all militaries stop using our people and our lands as the testing grounds for war and weaponry. We demand the recognition of the true terrorists in this world. We demand an end to the occupation of Afghanistan.