By Gianni Marabella
The United States dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal — GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), also known as the mother of all bombs — on targets involved with a branch of ISIL in Afghanistan on April 14. This came just a week and a half after the controversial missile strike that was ordered against the Al Shayrat airfield in Syria.
According to CNN reports, the blast killed at least 94 Islamic State fighters, including four commanders. No civilian casualties have been reported, and it is believed that civilians had cleared out of the area since ISIL took over.
The bomb targeted a series of tunnels that acted as an ISIL sanctuary. Officers have reported that this is the first time that the MOAB had ever been used in the field.
“This was the right weapon against the right target,” Commander for U.S. forces in Afghanistan General John Nicholson said at a news conference. “It was the right time to use it tactically against the right target on the battlefield.”
Nicholson was not required to consult the White House before ordering the attack. President Donald Trump commended the actions of the military afterward.
“Really another successful job,” Trump said. “We’re very very proud of the military,” Trump said.
The Trump administration has remained in approval of the decision to drop the bomb.
“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,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said later Thursday.
It was rationalized that the area would need to be bombed due to the fact that U.S. and Afghan forces could not advance because the territory was heavily mined with explosives.
The operation was a joint effort between the U.S. and Afghan militaries. A statement from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s administration stated, “Afghan and foreign troops closely coordinated this operation and were extra cautious to avoid any civilian casualties.”
Since news of the bombing broke, many U.S. Republican senators have expressed their support for the actions of the military.
“I hope America’s adversaries are watching & now understand there’s a new sheriff in town,” Senator Lindsey Graham said on Twitter. “Pleased Air Force dropped MOAB against ISIL in Afghanistan. Must be more aggressive against ISIL everywhere — including Afghanistan.”
Other politicians have vocally opposed the use of the MOAB. Among the loudest voices condemning the act has been former Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Karzai vehemently spoke out against both Ghani and Trump on twitter.
“My message to President Trump today is that he has committed an immense atrocity against the Afghan people, against fellow human beings,” Karzai tweeted. “If the American government sees us as human beings, then they have committed a crime against fellow human beings, but if they treat us as less than human beings, well, of course they can do whatever they want.”