The United States military on Thursday dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb on an ISIS camp in Afghanistan, along the Pakistan border.
This marks the first combat use of the 21,600-pound GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, or MOAB, known within the military as the “mother of all bombs.” The MOAB was dropped by an MC-130 aircraft operated by the Air Force Special Operations Command, military officials tell CNN.
The attack targeted an encampment in the Achin district in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, which is located along Pakistan’s northwest border, where various militant groups are believed to have created a system of tunnels through the harsh mountainous terrain. The so-called Islamic State faction ISIS-Khorasan, or ISIS-K, is believe to be operating out of the Achin district.
“At 7:32 pm local time today, U.S. Forces–Afghanistan conducted a strike on an ISIS-K tunnel complex in Achin district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, as part of ongoing efforts to defeat ISIS-K in Afghanistan in 2017,” U.S. Central Command said in a statement. “The strike was designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities.”
“The strike was designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities,” the statement added.
It is currently unknown whether President Donald Trump personally authorized the use of the weapon—such authorization from the commander-in-chief would be unnecessary. Gen. John Nicholson, commander of military operations in Afghanistan, reportedly authorized the operation. Regardless, use of the dramatic missile aligns with Trump’s stated strategy for combating ISIS.
“I would bomb the shit out of them,” Trump said during a November 2015 campaign rally. “I would just bomb those suckers, and that’s right, I’d blow up the pipes, I’d blow up the refineries, I’d blow up ever single inch, there would be nothing left.”