Mother of All Bombs: US’ changed military strategy against IS in Afghanistan
Reflecting US President Donald Trump’s changed strategy in the battle against the Islamic State, the American army has used its most lethal non-non-nuclear bomb on a maze of caves and tunnels, considered a bastion of the deadly terror group in Nangahar province in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 36 suspected militants of the terror group.
Afghan officials ruled out any civilian casualties after “the mother of all bombs” (MOAB) which decimated a deep tunnel complex used by the Islamic State. This is the largest non-nuclear weapon used by the US army in its 15th year of fight against terrorists in Afghanistan. The operation came a few days before Mr Trump’s National Security Adviser H R McMaster flies to Afghan capital Kabul and reviews the security scenario on that country and the future of nearly 9,000 American troops stationed in Afghanistan. Mr McMaster is scheduled to visit Pakistan and India thereafter.
The 21,600-pound (9,797-kg) GBU-43 bomb, which has 11 tonnes of explosives, was dropped from a MC-130 aircraft in Achin district of Nangarhar, bordering Pakistan, Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said on Thursday. The bomb is a GPS-guided weapon that had never before been used in combat since its first test in 2003 when it produced a mushroom cloud visible from a distance of 32 km.
The MOAB offensive was part of a joint operation between Afghan and international troops, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s office said in a statement.
The use of MOAB, which had been earlier used in Iraq four years ago, indicates a changed military strategy by the Trump administration from the one under the previous Barack Obama dispensation. Under Mr Trump, Washington appears to have given greater room to the US military in taking decisions on the battlefield, shifting it away from the White House.