BY George Awuru
Recently the US military dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat on an Islamic State group tunnel complex in Afghanistan. The Pentagon affirmed that the 9 meter long GBU-43IB Massive Ordinance Air Blass Bomb (MOAB) known as the mother of all bombs was first tested in 2003 but had not been used before. The Pentagon reportedly said the 21,600IB(9,800kg) bomb was dropped from a US Aircraft in Nangarhar province, a mountainous and sparsely populated area where ISIS fighters reportedly use to move around freely, making it easier for them to target US military advisers and Afghan force area.
The bomb reportedly fell on Nangarhar shortly after a US Special Forces soldier was killed in the town fighting ISIS. And hours after, Pentagon admitted an air strike in Syria mistakenly killed 18 rebels from the Syrian Democratic Force which is backed by Washington.
America has once again demonstrated her determination to crush terrorists anywhere since nearly 3,000 people died when hijacked airplanes crashed into New York, Washington, D.C and a Pennsylvania Field. We saw that determination in Pakistan as American drones targeted Osama Bin Laden at his perch and killed him.
We have been seeing that determination since this decade in Africa through the US. Africa Command (Africom). Recently the US. Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha teams, partnered with host nations of Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Niger, Morocco, Mauritania, and Tunisia and trained their soldiers in the multination exercise, Flintlock 2017.
Flintlock is sponsored by US Africa Command with planning led in conjunction with partner nations. The first Flintlock was conducted in 2005 with Senegal as the host nation. It is reportedly designed to build the capacity of key African partner nations to provide better security for civilian populations. Deputy Chief Mission at the US Embassy in Burkina Faso, David Young, affirmed in his opening speech to kick-start this year’s Flintlock exercise that “Strong partnership are key to denying cross border attacks by violent extremist organizations.
This year’s exercise reportedly included military forces from 20 African nations demonstrating regional cooperation in training in small unit tactics, information sharing, communications, first aid, combat life-saver, weapons training and other military operations.
In as much as Flintlock provides African nations a unique opportunity to enhance regional coordination and address common security challenges, African nations must not succumb to the temptation of allowing American Military bases in Africa under the guise of training African soldiers to fight terrorism. If that happens, any African government that Washington does not approve of would be quickly changed. America’s actions have their consequences. Its dropping of mother of all bombs on the ISIS has now forced the Militant group to reportedly develop an improvised explosive device (IED) that can be launched from rifle or dropped from an aerial drone. Conflict Armament Research (CAR) said the Sunni Militant group was “promoting the development of “own brand” weapons” to provide its insurgents with otherwise unavailable armaments.
CAR, which identifies and tracks arms and ammunition in war zones, reported in December that IS had been making weapons on a scale and sophistication matching national military forces and that it had standardized production across its realm.
The monitors findings suggested IS was centrally managing the design and production of improved weapons with the ability to test its systems on the field and refine them as well as use new technologies such as drones.
The report said Islamic State was using the battle for Mosul to field-test different types of ordnance, an important step in any weapons research and development program.
“Evidence of research and development by IS forces, compiled by CAR since 2014, suggests that such adaptations are likely to continue and will result in further UAV innovations in the near future, potentially for use in theaters other than Iraq.”
–Awuru is a public policy analyst
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