U.S. drops ‘mother of all bombs’ on rural Afghan IS compound

A Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb weighing 21,500 pounds is prepared for testing at the Eglin Air Force Armament Center in, 2003. The U.S. military dropped a MOAB on Afghanistan around 7 p.m. local time on Thursday, the first time the weapon has been used in combat. Photo courtesy Department of Defense

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, April 13, 2017 (Gephardt Daily/UPI) — The United States Air Force has dropped a 21,600-bomb on ISIS targets in Eastern Afghanistan, using the Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB) for the first time in a combat situation.

CNN said four U.S. military officials who have knowledge of the mission have confirmed the use of the enormous, non-nuclear bomb, which was dropped at 7 p.m. local time on Thursday. That would have been at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday in Utah’s Pacific Standard Time.

The target was an underground complex of the Islamic State.

CNN, which first reported the bomb’s use, said the MOAB bomb was selected because the area targeted was in an extremely remote portion of the country, meaning risk to civilians was minimal. The sheer power of the blast would also be more effective in destroying underground tunnels carved out of the rocky terrain that other conventional bombs might not penetrate.

The MOAB is so heavy it is carried over the target by a C-130 cargo plane, then essentially shoved out the back when it’s ready to be deployed.

The target was in Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan’s tribal area, a porous border that extremists have exploited in eluding coalition forces. A U.S. Marine was killed in that province last week amid ongoing counter-terrorism activities.


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