U.S. Forces dropped the mother of all bombs on a tunnel complex in the Achin district, Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan as part of its ongoing efforts to destroy the Khorasan Group also known as ISIS-K.
The 21,600-pound MOAB bomb frightened villagers residing 20 miles away across the border in Pakistan. The villagers described the explosion as earsplitting. The U.S. Forces took every precaution to prevent civilian casualties with the strike.
As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using [improvised bombs], bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense. This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K,” said Army Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan, in a statement yesterday.
The Pentagon released a video of the strike showing that the mother of all bombs hit a mountainside overlooking river valley. The strike caused a giant explosion that destroyed the landscape and created a massive column of black smoke.
Using the mother of all bombs was necessary to defeat ISIS
During a press conference on Friday, Gen. Nicholson reiterated that the MOAB bomb was the “right weapon against the right target.” He added, “We have U.S. forces at the site, and we see no evidence of civilian casualties nor have there been reports.
General Nicholson also emphasized that the strike “demonstrate the commitment of Afghan forces, the Afghan government, and U.S. partners” to defeat ISIS.
The Office of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani posted a message on Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) reiterating the comments of U.S. officials that the strike was to support Afghan and U.S. Forces defeat ISIS in the region.
The U.S. Military and the Afghan government had “close coordination” regarding the operation in Achin and made sure to prevent any civilian casualties, according to the Office of Afghan Pres. Ghani.
Gen. Daulat Waziri, the spokesman for the Afghanistan Ministry of Defense, said Afghan forces were assessing the damage at the tunnel complex. According to him, the bombing was necessary because some of the tunnels were as deep as 40 meters and extremely hard to penetrate. He added that the road leading to the tunnel complex was “full of mines.
“It was a strong position and four times we had operations (attacking the site), and it was not possible to advance,” said General Waziri.
Mohammad Hakim, a resident of Achin district, was quoted by AP expressing his approval of the bombing. He said, “We are very happy and these kinds of bombs should be used in future as well, so Daesh (referring to ISIS in Arabic) is rooted out from here.” He added, “They killed our women, youths, and elders sitting them on mines. We also ask the Kabul government to use even stronger weapons against them.”
It was the first time for the U.S. military to use the MOAB, its most powerful non-nuclear weapon, which was developed for only nine weeks in 2003 for the Operation Iraqi Freedom and to put pressure on Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to stop fighting against the coalition. The U.S. Forces did not use the MOAB during the war.
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