The Pentagon released footage on Friday of its decision to drop the “mother of all bombs” for the first time in combat.
The power of the U.S. military’s GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) — the equivalent to 11 tons of TNT — captured global attention in 2003 when its test footage was made public. Wednesday’s destruction of tunnel systems used by the Islamic State group in Kabul Afghanistan garnered similar attention. Officials have stressed that conditions on the ground warranted the move.
“This was the first time that we encountered an extensive obstacle to our progress,” Army Gen. John W. “Mick” Nicholson Jr. told reporters, Reuters reported. “It was the right time to use it tactically against the right target on the battlefield.”
The officer was in constant contact with officials in Washington as the 21,600-pound bomb was dropped from an MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of Nangarhar.
“Afghan and foreign troops closely coordinated this operation and were extra cautious to avoid any civilian casualties,” the office of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s office said in a statement.
Afghan defense officials said at least 36 suspected members of ISIS-K (the Khorasan group) died in the blast, Reuters reported.
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