US launches 'mother of all bombs' in caves used by ISIL in Afghanistan

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Friday, April 14, 2017

The United States has launched the so-called "Mother of All Bombs" — the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the US arsenal — over a complex of tunnels believed to be used as a refuge by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, in the eastern part of Afghanistan yesterday. The attack was part of ongoing efforts to defeat the branch of the ISIL in Afghanistan.

The launch of the GPS-guided weapon was reported Wednesday night from a Lockheed C-130 Hercules, and the attack was designed to reduce the risk of Afghan and US forces carrying out clean-up operations in the area at the same time causing the maximum damage to the facilities and the combatants of the ISIL in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon has confirmed the use of the bomb and is evaluating the extent of the damage. White House spokesman Sean Spicer told the press conference that in the fight against the Islamic Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, "We must deny them operational space, which we did." For his part, US president Donald Trump, who publicly confirmed gave "full authorisation" to the army for the operation, called the launch of the bomb "successful".

This event comes at a time when the United States changed its military strategy from the assumption of Trump to the bombing of a Syrian air base in retaliation for the chemical weapons incident in Syria that the United States attributed to the government of Bashar al-Asad, The mobilisation of warships to the Korean peninsula to intimidate North Korea in the face of a possible sixth nuclear test, and recent misdirected air strikes that accidentally killed civilians and Syrian rebels.

The US military says that in conjunction with the Afghan army, precautions were taken to prevent any civilian casualties, although it is not known how many militants in the ISIL may have died.

The GBU-43 / B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), which shares with its English nickname Mother of All Bombs, is a large conventional non-nuclear bomb developed by the US military for use in war of Iraq, but had not been used in combat previously until now, having been used only in tests.

MOAB contains eleven tons of explosives and operates similarly to the BLU-82s used during the Vietnam and Afghanistan wars, being an updated version of these, to sweep large areas and at the same time used as a psychological weapon. The bomb is launched from a Hercules type plane with a parachute, and during its fall it is guided by GPS to its target. Once there it detonates before touching the ground, causing a powerful shock wave more than 1.5 miles from the epicentre, sucking all the oxygen from the area and then blazing the air.