U.S. drops ‘Mother of All Bombs’ on ISIS caves in Afghanistan
The U.S. military on Thursday dropped a massive 21,600-pound bomb in Afghanistan targeting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria fighters in a series of cave complexes.
At 7:32 p.m., a U.S. MC-130 aircraft dropped the bomb – the U.S.’s largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat – in Achin district in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghanistan.
It was the first time the bomb, known as the GBU-43, or “Massive Ordnance Air Blast,” was used in combat. It has a yield of 11 tons of TNT, and is nicknamed the “Mother of All Bombs.”
The bomb targeted ISIS’s Afghan affiliate, ISIS-Khorasan, “as part of ongoing efforts” to defeat the group in 2017, according to a statement from U.S. Forces – Afghanistan.
“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.
The U.S. “took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties with this strike,” the statement also said.
The U.S. commander of forces in Afghanistan said the massive bomb was used since ISIS-K has thickened their defense.
“As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using [improvised explosive devices], bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense,” said Army Gen. John W. Nicholson. “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K.”
It is not clear whether it was planned under the Obama administration or the Trump administration.
Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said the plan to drop the bomb has been in the works for a “few months,” and that the bomb had been in the country for “some time.”