The U.S. military defends their choice to drop one of the most powerful, non-nuclear weapons on an ISIS position inside Afghanistan. The military calls it a “tactical move” reports CNN.
The MOAB bomb, also known as the Mother of All Bombs, was dropped by an MC-130 aircraft in Achin, which borders Pakistan. The bomb is a 21,600-pound device that is GPS guided and is the strongest non-nuclear weapon ever made. The U.S. and Afghan forces felt it was necessary because fighting in the area had reached a standstill due to tunnels created by ISIS forces.
Where the Bomb Struck
The bomb dropped and killed approximately three dozen ISIS fighters. The weapon targeted a militant hideout that was an obstacle to the US and Afghan progress in the country.
General John W. Nicholson Jr, commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, defends the US military actions. In a speech, Nicholson says that the chain of command told him to drop the bomb after conducting assessments in the area.
This is the first time the MOAB has ever been used in combat. The US military says that the weapon achieved its intended purpose.
No civilians were harmed in the MOAB stike. US and Afghan Special Forces visited the area to review the damage. The militant complex, which featured underground tunnels and bunkers, was destroyed. However, the exact number of militants killed has not been released. Afghan forces estimate the death count to be at least 36.
The US military is receiving some scrutiny about the use of such a powerful weapon. Some feel it might be unnecessary, but the US defends its actions, stating that it was more than necessary to complete their mission and take out ISIS forces in the area.
The tunnels and bunkers have hindered US and Afghan efforts to penetrate the area. Therefore, they had no choice but to eliminate them and clear a path. The US felt it was the right time to use the weapon on the battlefield because there was no risk to civilians in that region.
Former President Hamid Karzai says the U.S. and Afghan forces are using their country as a testing ground for dangerous weapons, and that using these weapons will only allow further uses in the future. The current President, Ashraf Ghani, approved the release of the bomb and said it was necessary to support forces in that area.
The bomb was dropped at a time where the U.S. faces scrutiny over actions in the Middle East. Already three US-led airstrikes were carried out in the past 30 days, which might have killed allies and civilians during the strike. A US-coalition strike in Syria killed 18 allies from the Syrian Democratic Forces.
More about MOAB
MOAM is a Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb known as the GBU-43/B. It is the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the world.