The US military has dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), known as “the mother of all bombs”, on an Islamic State group tunnel complex in Afghanistan, the Pentagon says.
The 21,600lb (9,800kg) bomb was dropped in Achin district on Thursday evening local time, the Pentagon said. It is more than 9m (30 feet) in length.
During the years of intense fighting in Afghanistan, a handful of similar bombs were used by the United States to destroy caves believed to be used by forces of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, as well as to frighten troops dug into trenches who were not immediately killed by the weapon.
That the United States is now again using this type of ordnance reflects the changing nature of the foe in Afghanistan, and the fact that the Islamic State, like the Taliban and Al Qaeda, is now also using caves and tunnels.
Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan “are using I.E.D.s, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense,” Gen. John W. Nicholson, the United States commander in Afghanistan, said, referring to improvised explosive devices, in the statement announcing the strike.
The news came hours after the Pentagon admitted an air strike in Syria mistakenly killed 18 rebels.
It said a partnered force had mistakenly identified the target location as an IS position, but the strike on 11 April had killed rebels from the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is backed by Washington.