US strike in Afghanistan: What is the 'Mother of All Bombs'?

Posted April 14, 2017

General John Nicholson, the head of USA and global forces in Afghanistan, confirmed the bomb had been used against caves and bunkers housing fighters of the Islamic State.

Also known as the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) and the "mother of all bombs", the GBU-43 is a 9797kg GPS-guided munition and was first tested in March 2003, just days before the start of the Iraq war. "Must be more aggressive against ISIL everywhere - including Afghanistan".

"We don't know anything about the casualties so far, but since it is a Daesh (IS) stronghold we think a lot of Daesh fighters may have been killed".

The 9797kg GBU-43 bomb, which has 11 tons of explosives, was dropped from a MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan. "Towering flames engulfed the area", Shinwari told AFP.

"So we have incredible leaders in the military, and we have incredible military".

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It comes only a week after US President Donald Trump ordered missile strikes against Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack, and as China warned of the potential for conflict amid rising US tensions with North Korea. "This was another very, very successful mission".

"People have started leaving the area fearing more bombings", he said. The US military previously estimated ISIS had 600 to 800 fighters operating in the area.

The weapon, which was first tested just days before the Iraq War in March 2013, was dropped at 7.32pm local time (4.02pm United Kingdom time) after its deployment was signed off by General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, 37, was killed Saturday by small-arms fire in Nangarhar when his unit was attacked.

Afghan official said that 36 Islamic State group terrorists have been reportedly killed in the air strike.

There are now 8,400 US troops in the country, conducting counterterrorism operations against insurgents and training and advising Afghanistan's military.

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So far, Trump has offered little clarity about a broader strategy for Afghanistan, where some 8,400 USA troops remain.

The show of force was a signal to USA enemies including Syria, North Korea and Iran that the White House is prepared to take actions from which previous administrations refrained. United States forces dropped the bomb around 7 p.m. local time in the Achin district of Nangarhar province.

ISIS, notorious for its reign of terror in Syria and Iraq, has been making inroads into Afghanistan in recent years.

ISIS first emerged in the summer of 2015 in the country's east, fast gaining ground and support, often among disaffected Taliban or Afghan youth.

But the group has been steadily losing territory in the face of heavy pressure both from U.S. air strikes and a ground offensive led by Afghan forces.

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