THE former president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, has called the dropping of the largest-ever non-nuclear bomb on his country by the United States “an immense atrocity against the Afghan people”.
He accused the US of using Afghanistan as a weapons testing ground.
Last week, US forces dropped the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb in eastern Nangarhar province, reportedly killing 95 militants.
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Karzai said his country “was used very disrespectfully by the US to test its weapons of mass destruction”.
The office of President Ashraf Ghani said following the bombing that there was “close coordination” between the US military and the Afghan Government over the operation, and they were careful to prevent any civilian casualties.
But Karzai harshly criticised the decision to allow the use of the bomb. He said: “How could a government of a country allow the use of a weapon of mass destruction on its own territory? Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, how could they allow that? It’s just unimaginable.”
The strike was carried out last Thursday morning on a Daesh tunnel complex carved into a mountain. Afghan forces had tried repeatedly to storm the complex in recent weeks, officials said.
US and Afghan forces have been battling the Taliban for more than 15 years, but the US military unveiled the largest conventional bomb in its arsenal against Daesh, which has a far smaller but growing presence in Afghanistan.
US President Donald Trump called the operation a “very, very successful mission” but Karzai said: “My message to President Trump is that he has committed an immense atrocity against the Afghan people. If the American Government sees us as human beings, then they have committed a crime against fellow human beings, but if they treat us as less than human beings, well, of course they can do whatever they want.”
The US estimates there are between 600 and 800 Daesh fighters are in Afghanistan, mostly in Nangarhar. American forces have concentrated on fighting them while also supporting local Afghan forces against the Taliban.