Summary: The largest non-nuclear bomb that the U.S. has was just dropped on eastern Afghanistan in an area known to be an ISIS stronghold of tunnels.
The United States took a giant step to Bomb a remote part of Afghanistan known for being an ISIS stronghold that has left many to question if it was the right move. The Massive Ordinance Air Blast bomb was dropped by a C-130 aircraft on a cave complex that is believed to be used by ISIS fighters by the Pakistan border.
First, it is important to understand what a MOAB is. The Pentagon describes the bomb as the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal, the “Mother of All Bombs.” The bomb was brought into service in 2003 but has not been used in combat until now. The entire thing weighs 21,000 pounds with 18,000 of those pounds being explosives. Consider that the Tomahawk missiles launched last week at the Syrian airbase were 1,000 pounds each. The bomb works in such a way that it actually explodes in the air, relying on the pressure from the explosion to wipe out tunnels and other structures.
The decision to drop the bomb came on the heels of the death of a Green Beret. While Fox News reports that a US defense official told them the death of the soldier has nothing to do with the decision to drop the bomb, the timing certainly is helping the US forces in the country tackle the ISIS problem. The official told FOX, “It was the right weapon for the right target, and not in retaliation.”
Gen. John Nicholson, commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said, “As [ISIS’] 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].”
Governor of the Achin district, Ismail Shinwari, explained that the bomb was dropped in a remote part of the country where there are no civilian homes and there have been no reports of civilian injuries. They area has only seen heavy fighting between Afghan forces and ISIS fighters over the last few weeks.
There are around 600 to 800 ISIS fighters in the country, with the majority located in the Achin district of the Nangarhar region where the bomb was dropped. The US has been trying to help Afghan forces fight ISIS as well as the Taliban. Nearly 150 Army Rangers were able to kill “hundreds” of ISIS fighters in Nangarhar in August. Five of the Rangers were shot during the attack and a variety of valuable weapons and equipment like a rocket launcher and communications gear were left behind after the attack.
President Trump did not state if he personally authorized the attack but said he was “very, very proud” and that they did a “successful job.” Trump explained, “Everybody knows exactly what happens, so – and what I do is I authorize the military. We have the greatest military in the world, and they’ve done the job as usual, so we have given then total authorization, and that’s what they’re doing. And, frankly, that’s why they’ve been so successful lately.”
Do you think the bomb was the appropriate move? Tell us in the comments below.
To learn more about ISIS, read these articles:
- Orlando Families Claim Google, Twitter, Facebook Profit from ISIS
- ISIS Claims Turkish Nightclub Attack, Killer on the Loose
- ISIS Dishes Out Marriage Advice