US bombing casts shadow over Afghan peace conference 

US bombing casts shadow over Afghan peace conference 

SAM Report,
The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb sitting in an undisclosed location (Photo: AFP)

The United States not collaborating with Russia’s new initiativeto establish peace and stability in Afghanistan is quite clear now as the analysts think US is sending a strong message by dropping the MOAB (GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast)bomb on Afghanistan soil. Just one day before the commencement of the 11-party Moscow conference on Afghan peace, United States dropped the biggest non-nuclear weapon of their arsenal on an alleged ISIS hideout in Afghanistan near the border of Pakistan. This bombing on a cave where ISIS fighters are allegedly hiding, killed at least 94 Islamic State fighters, said an Afghan official, where the initial toll was 36. How much damage this MOAB, popularly known as “Mother of All Bombs”, caused is still uncertain, but this surely will have an impact on the peace conference in Moscow.

Participants of the Russian-hosted Afghanistan peace conference expressed concern over the growth of a terrorism threat in the country. Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday, “In the course of an honest and constructive exchange of views on the state and prospects of military and political situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the parties expressed concern over the growth of terrorism activity, leading to further bloodshed and suffering of the Afghan people,”

According to the statement, the parties agreed that the Afghan crisis did not have a military solution, that it can only be resolved by political means, as stipulated in the corresponding UNSC resolutions.

Attendees reportedly reaffirmed their readiness to assist in providing support to Kabul and urged the international community to continue supporting the crisis-torn country in order to ensure stability and national reconciliation. It was also said that Afghanistan is suffering from unstable political, social and security issues due to the activity of the Taliban movement and Daesh.

Earlier in the Friday morning, the fifth Afghanistan peace conference kicked off in Moscow, which was attended by 11 countries, including Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Afghanistan and a number of Central Asian states. All of these countries are directly and indirectly involved with the Afghan peace and security process. Although Uni ted States was invited to participate in the conference, they chose not to do so. In addition to representatives of Afghanistan and India, Pakistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tasneem Islam and Chi na’s special envoy on the Afghan issue Deng Xijun , are attending the conference.

The strong negative sentiment towards a military solution in the conference speech in solving afghan problems most likely derived from the US bombing incident. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has als o condemned this bombing. His speech usually reflects the general opinion of the Afghangovernment. When the people in charge of important position in Afghan government are restricted to voice their opinion due to diplomatic and other bindings, Hamid Karzai seems to unofficially speak on their behalf.

Russian media has severely criticized the US bombing.  Some analysts depict this bombing as a message to North Korea and Iran. But the majority thinks this was directed towards the parties involved in the new initiative of peace establishment in Afghanistan. United States cannot be ignored and without them anyone else can’t spearhead change in Afghanistan seems to be hint here. The same thing happened in Syria. US militaryofficials have not talked openly about a peaceful solution in Afghanistan.

Apart from the United States  administration, the other stakeholders have an unwritten consensus for a political solution to the Afghanistan crisis. Executive Director of US-based non-profit organization “Veterans for Peace” Michael T. McPhearson, told Sputnik in an interview on Friday, that the US decision to drop its biggest bomb MOAB on Afghanistan will not bring a change to the political situation.

“Dropping this bomb may meet a tactical objective, that is yet to be seen, but it does nothing to change the political situation. In fact, the US war in Afghanistan and ensuing instability, created the environment from which Daesh in Afghanistan has sprung,” McPhereson said.

He recalled that the United States “supposedly” invaded Afghanistan to defeat al Qaeda terrorist organization and to capture its leader Osama bin Laden, which somehow morphed into defeating the Taliban and now Daesh is on the scene.

“This is the same situation US policy has created in Iraq, and the chaos of that policy has spread to Syria,” McPhereson added.

McPherson also stressed that only political solution could provide peace and security in the region, adding that the population of war-torn countries should have the right to determine their future, not the United States.

It is expected that, at the end of the summit in Moscow, aspecific proposal on this issue will be addressed. However, a rapid and long-lasting change is not likely in the near future.