Up to 36 suspected Islamic State militants were killed in Afghanistan when the US dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat, the Guardian reported quoting the Afghan defence ministry on Friday.
To target a “tunnel complex” used by the ISIS’s Afghanistan affiliate, the US for the first time used what the military colloquially calls the “mother of all bombs”, the GBU-43/B.
Dawlat Waziri, an Afghan ministry spokesman said of Thursday’s strike: “No civilian has been hurt and only the base, which Daesh used to launch attacks in other parts of the province, was destroyed.”
Designed for destroying underground targets but not itself a deep-earth penetrator weapon, the GBU-43/B has the explosive yield of more than 11 tons of TNT.
The GBU-43B known as the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) or the Mother of All Bombs, is a 20,000-pound monster. It took $314 million to develop and has a unit cost of $16 million.
The massive bomb is dropped from air force planes and detonates before reaching the ground, resulting in an enormous blast radius. Only the Massive Ordnance Penetrator GBU-57, which has never been used in war, is a larger conventional weapon.
Asked whether he had authorized the bombing, Donald Trump said: “Everybody knows exactly what happened. What I do is I authorize my military. We have the greatest military in the world and they’ve done a job as usual. We have given them total authorization and that’s what they’re doing and frankly that’s why they’ve been so successful lately.”