Thursday’s detonation in Afghanistan of the massive GBU 43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, also known as the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) could be for this war what the Tet Offensive was for Vietnam: a tactical military success that became the iconic symbol of a war gone hopelessly wrong.
Famed CBS correspondent Walter Cronkite’s poignant post-Tet commentary woke up Americans to that war’s strategic bankruptcy. The MOAB should do the same for Afghanistan. Fortunately, there is still time to win this one.
To be sure, the exceptionally-talented commander Gen. John “Mick” Nicholson was correct in stating that the bomb was the right munition for the right target. Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K, the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan) was using deep tunnel complexes in the Achin district to hide from American surveillance, amass logistics, and plan and coordinate their operations. The intelligence needed to find and strike the bunker was extensive. Experts in targeting and the law of armed conflict analyzed the problem in detail. The MOAB was probably the only alternative to a bloody ground assault. Destroying this complex will be a major setback for ISIS. There is even a chance it will not recover.
Read the full article at The Hill.
More from CNAS
CommentaryThe Downside of Imperial Collapse
Empires form out of chaos, and imperial collapse often leaves chaos in its wake....
By Robert D. Kaplan
CommentaryIran Is Roiling with Protests, Nuclear Talks Are Stalled — Biden Must Raise the Stakes
If members of Congress squirm at the idea of supporting an Iran deal, they should consider how much worse their lives would become when President Biden asks them to vote to au...
By Jonathan Lord
CommentaryRussia, Iran, and the Perils of Post-autocracy
Neither the Russian nor the Iranian regime is now specifically threatened. Each could hang on for years. But this month provided a glimpse of their eventual demise....
By Robert D. Kaplan
PodcastPutin’s Panic Surge? With Richard Fontaine
Richard Fontaine joins Dan Senor to discuss Russia’s - Ukraine War, Iran deal negotiations, the Middle East & the Abraham Accords anniversary. Listen to the full interview on...
By Richard Fontaine