U.S. Drops “Mother of All Bombs” On IS Target in Afghanistan

By: Laura Steiner

The United States (U.S.) has announced forces in Afghanistan have dropped the Mother of All Bombs on a network of tunnels in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan believed to be used by the Islamic State (I.S.).

The bomb’s official name is GBU-43B.  It is a massive ordnance air blast weapon (M.O.A.B.) that carries 11 tons of explosives.  It was developed in the early 2000’s.  The Pentagon reviewed the legal justification for combat use.

According to media reports, American military headquarters in Kabul announced in a statement, the bomb was dropped at 7:32 p.m. local time Thursday.  The tunnel complex is said to be used by an Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State.  It’s located in the Achin district close to the border with Pakistan. The US believes IS fighters are using the tunnels to bolster its defences.

US  Army General John W. Nicholson believes the weapon’s use will minimize risk to U.S., and Afghan forces while maximizing destruction.  “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS,” he said according to Associated Press.  Nicholson is the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The weapon had been brought to Afghanistan for potential use “sometime ago,” according to a Pentagon spokesperson.