Citing military sources, CNN reports the United States just dropped a 30-foot-long bomb with a blast yield equivalent to 11 tons of TNT on suspected ISIS targets in Afghanistan. Nicknamed MOAB (short for “Mother of All Bombs”), the weapon is the largest non-nuclear bomb in America’s arsenal. This is the first time a MOAB has been used in combat.
Details of the attack remain sparse. According to CNN, the bombing aimed to take out ISIS tunnels in the Achin district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. The network also says that the bomb was dropped from an Air Force Special Operations Command MC-130 aircraft and that the military is “currently assessing the damage.”
What we do know is that the MOAB is an extremely powerful weapon. First developed in the lead up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, the bomb, officially named the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, had only been detonated in testing before Thursday’s attack in Afghanistan. However, the MOAB served as a weapon of psychological warfare after it was moved into the theater back in 2003. The US military also distributed videos of test drops that show how the 21,600-pound, GPS-guided bomb can level entire armies. They are indeed scary videos:
Now that the MOAB has made its debut in combat, who knows where the military will send it next. Maybe North Korea. Maybe Iran. Maybe Kansas. It’s entirely unclear what the world will look like in a week’s time. But hey, at least it wasn’t a nuke. Not yet, anyways.
This story is developing, and we’ll update it as we learn new information. In the meantime, don’t even bother hiding in a bunker. At a reported cost of $16 million per bomb, the MOAB is the best bunker buster we’ve got.
Update 1:49pm - White House press secretary Sean Spicer confirmed the MOAB attack in Afghanistan at a press conference. Spicer didn’t provide any more detail about the attack but instead referred reporters to Gen. John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, as well as the Defense Department for more information. It remains unclear if President Trump authorized or even knew about the bombing.
And in case you didn’t think this bomb was scary enough, here’s some more footage:
Update 3:30pm - The Pentagon has issued a press release about the bombing in Afghanistan that identifies the ISIS faction targeted as the Khorason Group.