Reports have surfaced that the MOAB (Mother of all Bombs) has been detonated in combat today in Afghanistan at 7:32 PM local time, according to four military officials with direct knowledge of the mission. This marks the first time this weapon has ever been used in combat, effectively marking a turning point in the War on Terror regarding the weapons used.
According to the initial reports, this weapon was used as part of the War on Terror to pacify ISIS militants and destroy sanctuary tunnels in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province. The bomb is reportedly satellite guided and detonates before reaching the ground. The GBU-43 (MOAB) was developed during the Iraq War under George W. Bush’s administration.
— Erika~America First! (@ms_erika74) April 13, 2017
The weapon seemingly has a blast yield of 11 tons and weighs around 22,00 pounds. In comparison, “Little Boy,” the first atomic bomb dropped on Japan in 1945 has a blast yield of 15 kilotons and weighed 9,700 pounds. The MOAB doesn’t quite match up to an atomic bomb, but it has still been dubbed the “largest non-nuclear bomb” by various sources. However, the T-12 Cloudmaker bomb was developed in the 1940s and is nearly twice as big and powerful as the MOAB.
Here is a rendition of what the impact of the MOAB would be if it were detonated in Times Square, for comparison:
for reference, this is what the MOAB we dropped on Afghanistan would do if it landed in Times Square. $16 million each. pic.twitter.com/52Ate07wir
— mauriice (@tallmaurice) April 13, 2017
A Green Beret soldier was killed in combat on Saturday in the region where the MOAB was dropped. According to a release from the U.S. Central Command the bomb was dropped “as part of ongoing efforts to defeat ISIS-K in Afghanistan in 2017.” The report furthermore states that “every precaution” was taken to avoid civilian casualties.
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) April 13, 2017
According to a Pentagon statement relayed to The Independent, the mission had been in the planning stages for months, but it is not known whether this dates back to when Obama was in office. They also reportedly did not mention whether the order was signed off by President Trump. Sean Spicer also did not mention Trump’s involvement in the matter, saying that “any further details” need to be taken to the Department of Defense during a press conference.
The death toll and impacts of this attack have yet to be fully determined.
Update 1: It appears that President Trump may have delegated this authorization to the military. When a reporter asked if he authorized the bomb, he gave an unclear answer, saying that:
“Everybody knows exactly what happened, so, and 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, and frankly, that’s why they been so successful lately”