The U.S. military dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday just days after a Green Beret was killed fighting ISIS terrorists there, a U.S. defense official confirmed.
The GBU-43B, a 21,000-pound conventional bomb, was dropped on an ISIS tunnel complex in Nangarhar Province.
The MAOB — Massive Ordinance Air Blast — is also known as the “Mother Of All bombs.” It was first tested in 2003, but hadn’t been used before Thursday.
“As ISIS’ losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense,” Gen. John Nicholson, Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement. “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS.”
For comparison, each Tomahawk cruise missile launched at Syria last week was 1,000-pounds each.
The weapon is a thermobaric bomb, which utilizes oxygen from the surrounding air to produce an extremely powerful pressure wave and tremendous heat.
As opposed to conventional, high-explosive munitions, which propel shrapnel in a quick, pointed manner, thermobaric weapons produce an explosion and pressure wave that is capable of traveling longer distances.
When used in a confined space such as a terror tunnel in this case, the effects of a thermobaric weapon like the GBU-43 are amplified as a result of being channeled and focused.