The U.S. Air Force dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on ISIS forces in Afghanistan on April 13. The Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), nick named the “Mother Of All Bombs,” was used on an Islamic State system of tunnels and caves. It killed 36 people.
Natasha Bertrand from Business Insider and foreign policy analyst Morgan Ortagus joined Carrie Sheffield and Clay Aiken (welcome back, Clay!) on Bold TV on April 14 to discuss MOAB.
“My immediate reaction to that strike yesterday was how is ISIS going to retaliate,” Natasha said. “Every expert I’ve spoken to has said that it was an appropriate act to take to try to eliminate or deter ISIS in Afghanistan because they do have a growing presence there. At the same time, the threat of retaliation in Europe and even within the Middle East is definitely there.”
Morgan, who returned from Kabul, Afghanistan this week, said that within the country, there’s a division between the Taliban and those who want peace and don’t want to live under Taliban rule. Having served and worked in Iraq for several years, Morgan said one of the main differences between Iraqis and Afghanis is that the Afghanis want U.S. forces there so the Taliban doesn’t win.
“The major problem you are going to have in fighting any sort of insurgency in Afghanistan is that the Pakistanis, who are supposed allies who [the U.S. has] given a billion of dollars in aid to, who had a nuclear weapon, who held onto Osama bin Laden — they still have safe havens for the Taliban,” Morgan said. “It’s troubling to see ISIS teaming up with the Taliban.”
Natasha said the ability to regroup and launch attacks anywhere is one way ISIS can threaten us. She said, for ISIS, it’s easy and inexpensive to arrange an attack through their online propaganda.
Morgan said that this is something we have been worried about since the terrorist attack of 9/11. The sophistication of ISIS online propaganda can inspire any person who has access to a weapon to “run into a train station or into the middle of Paris and gun down people,” she said.
When it comes to nuclear weaponry, however, Morgan said the nuclear weapons conversation is about these countries getting attention. “North Korea knows, Iran knows, insert whatever crazy country decides to get a nuclear weapon — Pakistan, for example — [that the U.S. pays] attention because we have to,” she said. “Any of these rogue states that are trying to acquire these weapons, it’s as much of a power play as anything else.”
“What we have to watch is how the U.S. responds to this test that North Korea will inevitably carry out,” Morgan continued, referring to U.S. administrations intel suggesting that North Korea will test another missile this weekend. “I think the way President Donald Trump chooses to respond will set the tone for his procedures.”
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