President Trump on Thursday gave the order for the U.S. military to drop its largest non-nuclear bomb on a tunnel complex in Afghanistan.
Operation Resolute Support dropped a GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB) on a series of ISIS tunnels in the Achin District in Nangarhar province.
The use of the GBU-43/B is a first for the battlefield, and Operation Resolute Support dropped it in Nangarhar province on Thursday. The target was a tunnel complex in Achin district being used by the ISIS-Khorasan group.
Known as the Massive Ordnance Air Blast, the bomb has been nicknamed “Mother of All Bombs.” Developed in 2003, the bomb has been tested but never used against an enemy. The bomb is 30-feet long and weighs 21,000 pounds. It’s been billed the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. inventory, but the GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator is larger, at 30,000 pounds.
On the order of Army Gen. John Nicholson, the bomb was dropped from an MC-130, an Air Force Special Operations Command aircraft.
“As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense,” Gen. John “Mick” Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, said in a statement. “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Thursday that the bomb was used to deny the group “operational space.”
“We targeted a system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters used to move around freely, making it easier for them to target U.S. military advisers and Afghan forces in the area,” he said. “The United States takes the fight against ISIS very seriously. And in order to defeat the group, we must deny them operational space, which we did.”