Dem wants Afghan war authorization repealed after massive bombing

Dem wants Afghan war authorization repealed after massive bombing
© Greg Nash

The lone member of Congress to vote against the Afghanistan War in 2001 is calling for Congress to come back in session and repeal that war authorization after the military dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb in the country.

“No president should have a blank check for endless war, especially not this president, who is acting without any checks or oversight from the Republican-controlled Congress,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said in a statement Thursday.

“I urge Speaker [Paul] Ryan [R-Wis.] to call Congress back into session, so we can immediately repeal the 2001 authorization for the use of military force and put real restraints on President Trump’s warmongering.”

Congress is in the middle of a two-week April recess.

The Pentagon on Thursday announced that it dropped GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB) on a series of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) tunnels in the Achin District in Nangarhar province.

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It’s the first time the bomb, which has a blast radius of one mile and weighs about 25,000 pounds, has been used in combat.

It’s unclear whether Trump gave the order to drop the bomb, with a Pentagon official saying only that the U.S. commander in the country didn’t need the president’s authority to do so.

But Lee said Trump needs to give an explanation for the bombing.

“Today’s unprecedented use of an MOAB, which is considered the ‘Mother of All Bombs,’ marks a new front in the almost 16 year war in Afghanistan,” she said.

“President Trump owes the American people an explanation about his escalation of military force in Afghanistan and his long-term strategy to defeat ISIS.”

Trump has promised to ramp up the fight against ISIS, memorably saying he would "bomb the s---" out of them if he were elected.

ISIS’s Afghanistan branch, known as ISIS-Khorasan, has been described by experts as comparatively weaker than the terrorist group’s other branches.

And U.S. officials have reported progress in stemming its growth. A U.S. military spokesman said in March that officials believe there are 700 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan, down from about 1,000 in October. The spokesman also said the ISIS branch occupies less than two districts in Nangarhar, down from 11 a year ago.

Still, ISIS has carried out a number of deadly attacks in the country, including an assault on a hospital in Kabul last month in which ISIS fighters disguised themselves as doctors and killed more than 30 people.  

And last weekend, a U.S. special forces soldier was killed in a firefight during an operation against ISIS in Nangarhar.