The United States has dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat in Afghanistan.The Air Force calls it the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb.Based on the acronym, it has been nicknamed the “Mother Of All Bombs.”
U.S. forces used a GPS-guided GBU-43 bomb, which is 30 feet long and weighs a staggering 21,600 pounds.The GBU-43 contains 11 tons of explosives and was dropped on a cave complex believed to be used by IS fighters in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, very close to the border with Pakistan.
A crater left by the blast is believed to be more than 300 meters wide.
The United States Forces – Afghanistan released a statement confirming the strike.”At 7.32pm local time today, US Forces – Afghanistan conducted a strike on an ISIS-K tunnel complex in Achin district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, as part of ongoing efforts to defeat ISIS-K in Afghanistan.The strike used a GBU-43 bomb dropped from a US aircraft,” the statement said.
The bomb was dropped out the back of a US Air Force MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan.
The weapon’s sheer power produces a blast that can be felt miles away,largely because of its construction.
Engineers used an unusually thin aluminum skin to encase MOAB’s payload, in order to avoid a thicker steel frame interfering with the impact on a target.
The US military said it did everything possible to avoid civilian casualties.A damage assessment was being carried out.
The U.S. fast-tracked the MOAB in 2003 for use in Operation Iraqi Freedom, but the Defense Department later decided that the enemy provided too little resistance to justify its deployment.
“As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense,” Gen. John W. Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement. “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K.”