On the heels of the death of a green beret who was killed in close combat on Saturday by ISIS fighters, the U.S. has dropped what is referred to as the “mother of all bombs” in the same region in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan.
The 21,000 pound bomb is the largest bomb in the Air Force arsenal and has never been used before in combat. Formally known as the GBU-43 or Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb, it was first developed in 2003. It is the world’s most massive non-nuclear weapon, with a blast radius of a mile.
According to ABC News:
“At 7:32 p.m. local time today, U.S. 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 in 2017,” U.S. Forces – Afghanistan said in a statement Thursday. ISIS-K refers to ISIS-Khorasan, the terror group’s affiliate in Afghanistan that mainly operates in the eastern part of the country.
“The strike used a GBU-43 bomb dropped from a U.S. aircraft,” the statement continued. “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. ”
As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense,” said Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander, U.S. Forces – Afghanistan. “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K.”
Nicholson sought authorization from higher commanders for the use of the bomb, which was moved to Afghanistan some time ago as planning for the mission was underway.
The military statement added: “U.S. Forces took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties with this strike. U.S. Forces will continue offensive operations until ISIS-K is destroyed in Afghanistan.”
Afghan forces and the American troops advising them have engaged in heavy fighting with ISIS forces in Afghanistan over the past year.