The U.S. military’s use of the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb —the “mother of all bombs” — killed 36 ISIS fighters and no civilians, the Afghan Ministry of Defense said Friday.
The MOAB is the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal and was used for the first time in combat Thursday around 7 p.m., local time. The 21,600-pound weapon, which released 11 tons of explosives, was guided by GPS and targeted an ISIS-held tunnel in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province near the Pakistani border.
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The “mother of all bombs” costs about $16 million and a total of 20 have been produced, according to Deagel.com, a military equipment website.
According to the Ministry of Defense, the MOAB destroyed several ISIS caves and ammunition caches, terrifying nearby villagers with its “earsplitting blast,” The Associated Press reported.
“This is the right weapon for the right target,” U.S. Gen. John W. Nicholson, NATO commander in Afghanistan, said in a news conference.
Local villagers could see and hear the blast from miles away.
“I was sleeping when we heard a loud explosion. It was an earsplitting blast,” 46-year-old Shah Wali, who lives in the nearby village of Goor Gari, told the AP. “I jumped from my bed and came out of my home to see what has gone wrong in our village.”
Another resident, Hakim Khan, 50, praised the attack: “I want a hundred times more bombings on this group.”
President Donald Trump fell short of saying he specifically authorized the use of the massive bomb, telling reporters, “Everybody knows exactly what happened.”
“What I do is I authorize my military. We have the greatest military in the world and they’ve done a job, as usual, so we have given them total authorization, and that’s what they’re doing,” he said.
Trump asked if he authorized bombing in Afghanistan Trump refuses to directly answer, says he's given military "to… https://t.co/czNHMLjGYQ— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum) 1492113743.0
The commander in chief called the bombing “another successful event,” adding that he’s “very, very proud” of the military.
The U.S. believes there are between 600-800 Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan, most of whom are in the Nangarhar region.