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Afghanistan has been at war too long

Stephen Oreilly

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There has been mixed reaction to the news that United States forces used the biggest available bomb in its arsenal to attack what has been described as a network of tunnels used by Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan.

A senior American officer said the bomb was the right weapon for the job while an Afghan officer said that before the strike, joint forces had been unable to penetrate the region.

There was also approval from villagers who lived far enough away from the target to be harmed but who still heard the massive explosion caused when the 11-tonne cache of explosives detonated.

Not unsurprisingly a Taliban statement called the strike an act of terrorism and a former president of Afghanistan claimed that the United States was using his country as a testing ground for such weapons.

Afghanistan has been in a state of war off and on from way before Russia attempted to invade in 1979. That near-10 year war claimed over two million dead and many people were displaced.

Since 2001 western forces have been engaged in hostilities in the country following the rise of Al Qaeda, the Taliban and more lately Islamic State.

Surely it is time for all sides to end the suffering of the ordinary people who have had to live through many decades of death and destruction.

A statement from the United States said that 36 IS fighters had been confirmed dead and that that figure would probably rise. It is also claimed that no civilians were killed. Hopefully that is the case. The way to ensure that no civilians are killed is to reach a peaceful resolution to this long-running conflict.

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