The use of a large conventional bomb against an Afghan tunnel complex occupied by Islamic State militants recently captured the media’s imagination. Talking heads rushed to discern the meaning of the decision. Was it President Donald Trump sending a message to North Korea? Was the president even involved in the decision? It turns out that he wasn’t.
The war in Afghanistan has been going on for such a long period of time that it’s almost become a ritual for a new administration to take a bottom-up, comprehensive look at America’s war strategy during its first two months on the job. The movie has been repetitively played over the last decade and a half: the generals running the war are ordered by the new president and his national security adviser to assess whether the plan is working; the generals conduct the review, which usually concludes with the commanders requesting more U.S. troops on the ground; and the administration (with varying degrees of resistance) eventually provides the commanders the authority and resources that they have forwarded to the White House. President Obama was a bit of anomaly in this regard. He did, after all, set a timeline for troop withdrawals that the Pentagon wasn’t especially pleased about. But even Obama authorized nearly fifty thousand additional American troops into the conflict during his first year in office.
A senior Iranian official says certain regional countries seek to transfer terrorists from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan.
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani made the remarks in a phone conversation with Hanif Atmar, national security adviser to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Pakistan is not just one of nine countries with nuclear weapons, it is also a hotbed of global jihadism, where the military and the intelligence services use terrorist networks to advance their regional goals. And even as Pakistani officials proclaim that their nuclear assets are secure, evidence, including internal Pakistani documents, suggests that they know better.
The United States Air Force Special Operations Command carried out of a targeted strike against Islamic State positions in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province using the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB, or ‘Mother of All Bombs’) on Thursday. The use of the MOAB made the strike the largest non-nuclear bomb delivered by the U.S. military in combat and the third largest bomb used by the U.S. military overall, following up to the nuclear fission devices dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which delivered more than three orders of magnitude more explosive yield. The strike came days after the U.S. confirmed the death of a U.S. Special Forces soldier killed fighting the Islamic State in Nangarhar province though a U.S. military spokesperson told The Daily Beast the strike was not retaliatory.
On Friday, Russia held a regional conference to explore the prospects for settling the long-running Afghanistan conflict. This follows a similar conference that Moscow held in February, which was preceded by a tripartite meeting between Russia, China and Pakistan in December on the same subject.
The situation in Syria is changing rapidly due to the Trump administration’s intervention policy. Moscow termed the recent U.S. strike on Syria as a “significant blow to Russian-American relations” and hence suspended cooperation with the United States in Syria. Being a U.S. ally and strongly dependent upon on Washington’s aid, Kabul is becoming worried. As tensions rise in U.S.-Russia relations, the possibility of their cooperation in Afghanistan decreases. There is also a chance that Moscow will instead increase ties with the Taliban. If that happens, it will be an alarming sign for National Unity Government in Afghanistan, and probably be a game-changer in the Afghan political landscape.
The real war in Afghanistan is between the people and corrupt members of the ruling elite — in short, the kleptocrats. On March 27, the Afghan parliament summoned security officials over deteriorating security situation across the country only to show confidence in their ability to serve. This is not the first time the public officials have gotten away after brokering deals. This massive and ever powerful network of kleptocrats has jeopardized any prospects of enduring peace and economic prosperity in Afghanistan. The unprecedented level of corruption is a product of the last few decades of war and the injections of billions of dollars of aid without sufficient oversight, resulting in fractured state institutions.
Following the end of WWII, a new world order emerged with substantial impact on humanity, geopolitics, geo-economics, migration and, more critically, the birth of the never-ending Cold War. The WWII, which took approximately 30 million lives, was orchestrated by a democratically elected leader of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler.