The U.S. military just dropped the world’s largest non-nuclear bomb, the MOAB (officially, Massive Ordinance Air Blast, but better known by its nickname “Mother of All Bombs”), on an Islamic State terror stronghold in Afghanistan.
According to military officials, at 7:32 pm local time, the military dropped a GBU-43 bomb in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
The 22,000-plus pound weapon was developed by the U.S. Air Force at the turn of the century, and has been described as arguably the most powerful non-nuclear ever made. It is the first time the weapon has ever been utilized on the battlefield, U.S. officials said Thursday.
The MOAB serves as a replacement to the Vietnam-era BLU-82 (also known as the “Daisy Cutter”). It is not intended to be used similar to a massive ordnance penetrator (commonly referred to as a “bunker buster”) to crack through heavily armored facilities. Instead, the MOAB is best utilized to target large surface areas (such as wooded areas or large swaths of terrain) that are out in the open.
“The strike was designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities,” the statement said.
ISIS-K is short for ISIS-Khorasan, which references the branch of the Islamic State that has a presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
This is the GBU-43, known as "Mother of All Bombs" (MOAB) dropped on ISIS target. Creates a blast radius, reaching a mile in each direction. pic.twitter.com/UAhbMMI8Ri
— Preston Phillips (@PrestonTVNews) April 13, 2017
General John W. Nicholson, the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, added:
“As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense … this is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K.”
U.S. drops 21K LB MOAB, "Mother Of All Bombs" on ISIS-K tunnel camp in Afghanistan. Air Blast bomb largest non-nuclear bomb in US arsenal. pic.twitter.com/Ao080EasnH
— Jamie McIntyre (@jamiejmcintyre) April 13, 2017
The news comes following President Donald Trump’s announcement Wednesday that he is sending National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster to Afghanistan to evaluate the operations there. The president is contemplating whether to send more U.S. troops to the war-stricken country.
The strike took place on the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, who was the first American president to square off against Islamic radicals (the Barbary pirates). (For more from the author of “The Mother of All Bombs the US Just Dropped on ISIS: What You Need to Know about MOAB” please click HERE)