The United States dropped the biggest bomb it has dropped since World War II on Wednesday. The GBU-43B is the largest conventional bomb in the US military’s arsenal. When the monster that has been nicknamed the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) was dropped on Afghanistan, the war against the Islamic State took a definite turn.
[Scroll Down for Video]
The Nangarhar province is a remote area in eastern Afghanistan. The Islamic State has used the desolate mountainous area to stage ambushes and to hide fighters moving across the border with Pakistan. The are is riddled with caves and tunnels where the insurgents hide. Some of the tunnels are believed to be close to 50 yards deep into the mountain.
The official word out of the Pentagon today is that 36 Islamic State group fighters died in the blast. Afghan officials have said there were no civilian casualties.
Gen. Daulat Waziri, spokesman for the Afghanistan Ministry of Defense, said the 11 ton blast destroyed several caves and ammunition caches.
“It was a strong position and four times we had operations (attacking the site) and it was not possible to advance,” he said. His forces had difficulty even getting to the site, as the roads in were full of mines.
“This is the right weapon for the right target,” U.S. Gen. John W. Nicholson, NATO commander in Afghanistan, said at a news conference.
On the other side of the Pakistani border, villagers assumed they were under attack. The blast was so loud they believed the Americans were targeting terrorists in Pakistan.
“I was sleeping when we heard a loud explosion. It was an earsplitting blast,” Shah Wali told reporters from the AP. Wali lives 9 miles from the border with Nangarhar. “I jumped from my bed and came out of my home to see what has gone wrong in our village.”
The Islamic State has yet to respond. US intelligence estimates as many as 800 Islamic State fighters are in Afghanistan. Their numbers are most concentrated along the border of Pakistan where they can seek shelter. The United States has been actively involved in the defense of the country for 16 years.