Science

US Drops MOAB, World’s Largest Non-Nuclear Bomb, on ISIS in Afghanistan

By | Apr 13, 2017 06:19 PM EDT
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Ka-boom!

MOAB. (Photo : USAF)

 Ka-boom!

Massive MOAB explosion. (Photo : USAF)

The United States today dropped the world's largest non-nuclear bomb -- the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) -- on an underground ISIS tunnel complex in the Archin District, Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan in what was apparently payback for the death of a U.S. Green Beret soldier killed by ISIS five days previously.

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The 10,000 kg MOAB, affectionately nicknamed "Mother of All Bombs" by U.S. troops, was dropped from either a Lockheed Martin MC-130E Combat Talon I or MC-130H Combat Talon II special mission aircraft operated by the United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).

This air burst bomb was pushed out the rear of a Combat Talon; guided to its target by onboard GPS and was slowed down by parachute before exploding some two meters above the ground.

MOAB exploded in the air above what the U.S. military identified was a huge underground ISIS tunnel complex. This mission was the first use of MOAB on the battlefield.

The attack was carried out in a remote mountainous area with no civilian homes nearby. Local Afghan authorities said there have been no reports of injured civilians.

In tests in the U.S., MOAB generated a tremendous blast radius over two kilometers wide, obliterating anything within it.

The Pentagon said it had no early estimate of deaths or damage caused by its attack, which President Donald Trump described a "very, very successful mission."

The U.S. military headquarters in Kabul said the MOAB was dropped at 7:32 p.m. local time on April 13. The U.S. estimates up to 800 IS fighters operate in Afghanistan, mostly in Nangarhar.

On April 8, a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, was killed by ISIS in Nangarhar.

The Pentagon said the MOAB dropped at Nargrhar was brought to Afghanistan "some time ago."

The strike was designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. forces conducting clearing operations in the Achin area while maximizing the destruction of IS fighters and facilities.

"As ISIS-K's (Khorasan, a branch of ISIS) losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense," said United States Army General John William Nicholson, Jr., commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A).

"This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K."

 

 

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