Washington, Apr 13 (efe-epa).- The United States on Thursday dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal on an underground Islamic State complex in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said.
This marks the first use in combat of the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) device, also known as the “mother of all bombs,” the Defense Department said.
Initially designed with an eye toward use in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the MOAB is 30 feet (9.15 meters) long and weighs more than 10 tons.
The US military Central Command said in a statement that the bomb was dropped from a C-130 Hercules aircraft on a complex of caves and tunnels in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan.
The attacked targeted a faction of Islamic State that US officials denote as ISIS-Khorasan, based on the jihadis’ name for that region of Afghanistan.
“As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs (improvised explosive devices), bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense,” the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John W. Nicholson, said.
“This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K,” he said.
The deployment of the MOAB comes less than a week after a US Special Forces soldier was killed in a clash with ISIS-K in the area.