US hits IS tunnel in Afghanistan with biggest non-nuclear bomb

RSTV Bureau
Eglin Air Force Base : This photo provided by Eglin Air Force Base shows the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb. Photo - AP/PTI

Eglin Air Force Base : This photo provided by Eglin Air Force Base shows the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb.
Photo – AP/PTI

The United States military last evening dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb ever, nicknamed MOAB or Mother Of All Bombs, targeting the Islamic State tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan, close to the Pakistani border. Calling it “successful”, US President Donald Trump hailed his forces.

According to pentagon briefing, a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB was dropped on a tunnel complex of ISIS-Khorasan, a regional affiliate of the terror group, in Achin district of Afghanistan’s Nanagarh province.

Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said it was the first-ever combat use of the bomb. A MOAB is a 21,600-pound, GPS-guided munition that is America’s most powerful non-nuclear bomb.

US President Donald Trump said he authorised the use of the bomb in Afghanistan and called the mission “very, very successful”.

“It was really another successful job, we are very proud of our military. We are so proud of our military, it was another successful event,” Trump told reporters at the White House

“Everybody knows exactly what happened, what I do is I authorise our military. We have the greatest military in the world, they’ve done a job, as usual, so we have given them total authorisation and that’s what they’re doing, and frankly, that’s why they’ve been so successful lately,” he said.

However, the US President rejected the speculations if bombing in Afghanistan was a message to North Korea.

“I don’t know if this sends a message. It doesn’t make any difference if it does or not. North Korea is a problem. The problem will be taken care of. I will say this; I think China has really been working very hard,” he said.

The bomb was dropped by an MC-130 aircraft, operated by the Air Force Special Operations Command.

At his daily news conference, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the bomb was dropped at around 7 pm local time in Afghanistan.

“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. The US took all precautions necessary to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage as a result of the operation,” Spicer said.

The strike is part of the ongoing efforts to defeat ISIS-K in Afghanistan, the US Central Command (USCENTCOM) said.

US claimed that the strike was designed to minimise the risk to Afghan and US Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximising the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities.

The United States Central Command said US Forces took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties in the strike. American forces will continue offensive operations until ISIS-K is destroyed in Afghanistan, it said.

Nangarhar, which borders Pakistan, is a hotbed of IS militancy. According to the Department of Defence, there are about 600-800 ISIS-K fighters in the region where bomb was dropped.

(With inputs from Agencies)