The United States dropped a GBU-43B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, aka MOAB, aka “mother of all bombs,” in the Nangarhar province of Eastern Afghanistan yesterday. The MOAB is the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the US arsenal.
The goal of the strike was to destroy an network of caves and tunnels used by ISIS fighters.
Today the pentagon released raw footage of the explosion, which was large enough to destroy more than 9 city blocks.
“Precautions were taken to avoid civilian casualties with this air strike,” Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani told CNN. Ghani approved of the US strike and said it was “designed to support the efforts of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and US forces … conducting clearance operations in the region.”
After the smoke cleared Afghan military officials surveyed the damage. According to a report released by the Afghan Ministry of Defense today, 36 ISIS fighters were found dead. No civilian casualties have been reported.
Local residents could feel and hear the effects of the blast more than 1.5 miles away. One resident told CNN he heard an “extremely loud boom that smashed the windows of our house.”
There are few residents remaining in Nangarhar. Over the past year more than 3,000 families have fled the district in fear of ISIS. The cave network and rocky mountain terrain makes a traditional assault difficult and offers ISIS incredible protection from traditional small yield aerial bombs.