News of President Trump’s willingness to trust the judgement of his military leaders struck many as symbolic, at least until the US military dropped a MOAB on a network of caves in eastern Afghanistan. Now the whole world is watching. And the first images of the aftermath have now been released. So what does the aftermath of a MOAB look like?
It might be easier to see if the landscape in this part of the country wasn’t already barren and rocky. Still, the effects are visible.
The US dropped the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) on the Nangarhar, Afghanistan in an attempt to demolish a network of tunnels that insurgent fighters from the so-called Islamic State had been using for ambush attacks.
These photos are the first to emerge, and the area is still dangerous. The ISIS troops may not be using the caves anymore, but they’re still in the area.
Official figures claim that 96 insurgents were killed. There are no reported civilian casualties. As this was an area of heavy fighting, the civilians may have fled well before this bomb was dropped.
One interesting element is the presence of leaves on trees within close proximity to the blast site. Rumors of the destruction suggested there would be a mile-wide blast zone devoid of life and vegetation. Not so.
Inside the tunnel complex, the structures seem intact.
As the strike was intended to take out these tunnels, many keep asking about how effective that effort had been. How many insurgents were killed inside the caves? U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis dismisses the question.
“Frankly digging into tunnels to count dead bodies is probably not a good use of our troops’ time when they are chasing down the enemy that is still capable,” he told reporters Thursday.
The destruction was, undoubtedly, extreme. The aftermath, though, doesn’t seem to show the apocalyptic carnage that many were expecting. And the troops in the area, still hoping to secure this border region, are still facing an active threat from the enemy.