U.S. strikes ISIS targets in Afghanistan with largest non-nuclear bomb ever used
Less than a week after a U.S. soldier died in combat in Afghanistan, the U.S. military struck ISIS targets with the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat. FSRN’s Nell Abram has more.
In eastern Afghanistan Thursday evening, U.S. forces deployed the most powerful GPS guided conventional explosive in the country’s arsenal – second only to a nuclear bomb.
The GBU43/B is a 30-foot long, more than 21,000-pound Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, or MOAB. It’s also known as “the mother of all bombs,” and had never before been used in combat.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed the strike in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, though he misstated when the bomb was actually dropped.
“We targeted a system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters used to move around freely making it easier for them to target U.S. military advisers and Afghan forces in the area,” Spicer said. “The U.S. takes the fight against ISIS very seriously and in order to defeat the group we must deny them operational space – which we did.”
The Commander of United States Forces – Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, authorized the strike under existing counter terrorism authorities.
Spicer sidestepped questions about whether President Trump was involved in the decision to deploy the powerful bomb.
There’s no word yet on casualties. The U.S. Air Force dropped the massive bomb just days after Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar was killed in action in the same area of Afghanistan. According to the Defense Department the Green Beret died as a result of “enemy small arms fire while his unit was conducting counter-ISIS operations.”