U.S. drops 'mother of all bombs' on ISIS caves in Afghanistan

Author

14 April, 2017

The U.S. military for the first time Thursday dropped one of its largest conventional weapons - a massive 21,000-pound bomb nicknamed the "Mother of All Bombs" - on an Islamic State tunnel complex in Afghanistan. "The United States took all precautions necessary to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage as a result of the operation".

"The goal is to have the capabilities of the coalition so clear and so obvious that there is an enormous disincentive for the Iraqi military to fight against the coalition", Rumsfeld said after a test of the MOAB on March 11, 2003.

He said it was meant to minimise the risk to Afghan and USA forces conducting clearing operations in the Achin area and added: 'This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against Isis-K'.

ISIS is estimated to have between 600 to 800 fighters in the area, Stump said.

There are 8500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan primarily split between counterterrorism operations and supporting the fledgling Afghan military. He said IS has been using improvised explosive devices, bunkers and tunnels to strengthen its defenses.

"This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K", Nicholson added. It is the largest nonnuclear bomb in the U.S. military's inventory.

The United States dropped a massive GBU-43 bomb, also known as the "mother of all bombs", in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday against a series of caves used by Islamic State militants. In 2016, it dropped 1,337 bombs on the country.

In the US, Democratic have expressed doubts over the use of the MOAB. A US Army Special Forces soldier was killed fighting the terror group there Saturday.

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President Donald Trump touted the bombing as a "very successful mission", and evidence of a more muscular USA foreign policy since he took office in January after eight years of President Barack Obama.

"If you look at what's happened over the last eight weeks and compare that, really, to what's happened over the last eight years, you'll see there's a tremendous difference".

He declined to say whether he had been involved in the decision making.

He said he's given the military "total authorization", apparently referencing actions against ISIS in general, and praised the "incredible leaders" of the military. According to the Pentagon, Nicholson signed off on Thursday's mission.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the MOAB was dropped to reach "a system of tunnels and caves" used by Islamic State terrorists. Many say in fact the Afghan ISIS fighters came from Pakistan and adopted the group's branding in order to get financing.

The U.S. military is now assessing the damage.

The U.S. government's top watchdog on Afghanistan said earlier this year that the Afghan government controls less than 60 percent of the country.


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