US drops MOAB first time in combat in Afghanistan
DEBKAfile Special Report April 13, 2017, 8:22 PM (IDT)


The US Thursday, April 13, dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal, the 21,000lb Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), in Afghanistan on an ISIS target in the Nangathar Province east of Kabul. This was the first time it was used in combat.
In this area, a Special Forces (Green Beret) solider died of enemy small fire Saturday while his unit was conducting counter-ISIS operations.

Known also as the Mother of all Bombs, the GBU-43 bomb was dropped Thursday on a large group of ISIS fighters hiding in caves from an MC-130 jet. For comparison, a Tomahawk cruise missile has a 1,000lb warhead. The bomb, which has a mile-wide radius, was first tested in 2002 but never used until Thursday.

It was dropped as the Trump administration was mulling sending more troops to Afghanistan.

The White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that the US takes the war on ISIS very seriously and acted on the need to deny “operational space” to the many of its fighters who use tunnels and caves for attacks. Every effort was made to avoid collateral damage to civilians.

This unprecedentedly powerful attack is seen as sending a message to ISIS everywhere - its network in AFghanistan is spreading - and to Kim Jong-un on the eve of North Korea’s anniversary celebrations and threats of a sixth nuclear test. debkafile adds that the Trump administration was also signaling Russia and Iran about the lengths to which he is willing to go in American military operations.

When 69 Tomahawk missiles which destroyed one-fifth of the Syrian Air Force had no deterrent effect on Syria’s Bashar Assad, and Russia, China, Iran and North Korea were not impressed with US military might, President Donald Trump dramatically upped the stakes with a weapon just one grade below a nuclear bomb. The military tensions in Asia, the Middle East and Europe have consequently escalated..

debkafile’s military sources add: The Russian arsenal contains an even bigger bomb than the MOAB. The Aviation AVBPM - a vacuum high power bomb - is dubbed Father of All Bombs. It contains 7 tons of explosives, compared to the 8 tons of the US weapon, but they are of a new type which has an output equivalent to 11 tons of TNT.

 











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