US unleashes 'mother of all bombs' for first time in Afghanistan

04/14/2017

WASHINGTON, Apr. 14: The United States dropped "the mother of all bombs," the largest non-nuclear device it has ever unleashed in combat, on a network of caves and tunnels used by Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, the military said.

The strike occurred at 7:32 pm (1502 GMT).

US President Donald Trump touted the bombing as evidence of a more muscular US foreign policy since he took office in January after eight years of President Barack Obama.

The 21,600 pound (9,797 kg) GBU-43 bomb was dropped from a MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan, Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said.

The GBU-43, also known as the "mother of all bombs," is a GPS-guided munition and was first tested in March 2003. It is regarded as particularly effective against clusters of targets on or just underneath the ground.

It was the first time the United States has used this size of conventional bomb in a conflict.

Trump described the bombing as a "very successful mission." It was not immediately clear how much damage the device did.

During last year's presidential election campaign, Trump vowed to give priority to destroying Islamic State, which operates mostly in Syria and Iraq. He flexed US military muscles last week by ordering a cruise missile attack on a Syrian government airbase in retaliation for a poison gas attack.

"It was really another successful job, we are very proud of our military. We are so proud of our military, it was another successful event," Trump told reporters at the White House

"Everybody knows exactly what happened, what I do is I authorise our military. We have the greatest military in the world, they've done a job, as usual, so we have given them total authorisation and that's what they're doing, and frankly, that's why they've been so successful lately," he said.

"If you look at what's happened over the last eight weeks and compare that really to what's happened over the last eight years, you'll see that there's a tremendous difference," Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday.

The security situation remains precarious in Afghanistan, with a number of militant groups trying to claim territory more than 15 years after the US invasion which toppled the Taliban government.

So far, Trump has offered little clarity about a broader strategy for Afghanistan, where some 8,400 US troops remain.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the bombing "targeted a system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters used to move around freely, making it easier for them to target US military advisers and Afghan forces in the area."

Spicer described it as "a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon." US forces took "all precautions necessary to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage," he said.

Foreign policy experts said that it appeared the use of such a specialized weapon had more to do with the type of target -- tunnels -- than the United States sending any message to other countries by using such a powerful weapon.

"This is a very specialized weapon, we don't have very many of them, you can only use them in a very narrow set of circumstances," said Mark Cancian, a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

Cancian added that while sending a message to Syria or North Korea could have been among the secondary factors considered, they would not have been the main reason for using this type of weapon.

The top US commander in Afghanistan said recently that he needed several thousand more international troops in order to break a stalemate in the long war with Taliban insurgents.

 

 

 


US officials say intelligence suggests Islamic State is based overwhelmingly in Nangarhar and neighboring Kunar province.

Estimates of its strength in Afghanistan vary. US officials have said they believe the movement has only 700 fighters but Afghan officials estimate it has about 1,500.

 

 

 


The Afghan Taliban, which is trying to overthrow the US-backed government in Kabul, are fiercely opposed to Islamic State and the two group have clashed as they seek to expand territory and influence.(TOI)

 

Related News

India, France ink €7.87 billion agreement for 36 Rafales

NEW DELHI, 23 Sept : India and France on Friday concluded an Inter-Governmental Agreement for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of €7.87 billion, the first fighter aircraft deal since the purchase of Sukhois from Russia in the late 90’s. The deal was signed by Defence…

Let's fight battle to build a better nation and see who wins: PM Modi to Pakistan

Mohua Chatterjee| TNN | Updated: Sep 24 : KOZHIKODE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday broke his silence on the Uri terror attack and tore into Pakistan for its role in supporting terror in the region. At his first public rally since the Uri incident, PM Modi challenged Pakistan - not at conventional war - but in…

Terror as state policy is war crime, Shah tells Pakistan

KOZHIKODE,September 25 : The BJP on Sunday reinforced Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to Pakistan, with party president tabling a statement on the terrorist attack on Uri, positing it as one in a decade-and-a-half of terror strikes against India by Pakistan. BJP president Amit Shah described Pakistan as a country…

Pakistan not getting support in UN on surgical strikes issue: Akbaruddin

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 1 : India has said that Pakistan approaching the United Nations on the issue of surgical strikes by the Indian Army across the LoC has not found any resonance in the world body and rejected claims that the UN mission monitoring ceasefire “has not directly observed” any firing…

Pakistan still in anaesthesia after surgery, says Parrikar

DEHRADUN/NEW DELHI, Oct, 2 : Pakistan is like a patient who has been given anaesthesia and doesn’t know that surgery has already been done on him, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Saturday. The Minister’s remarks are first comments from a member of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) following the…

Baramulla: It was a terror attack, not a case of friendly fire, says Indian BSF

NEW DELHI, Oct. 4 : The Indian BSF denied reports of "friendly fire" resulting in casualties during the terror attack on the Baramulla camp even as speculation swirled about tense nerves leading to firing late on Sunday night. The border force said terrorists struck at a joint Army-BSF camp and this claimed the life of one…

Video

Find Us on Facebook

From Social

Tokyo (Japan), Sept. 13: A new leadership assumed responsibilities at the Non Resident Nepalese Association (NRNA), Japan on Sunday. The new office bearers took oath of office and secrecy after a long fought battle resulting from dissatisfaction from those who…

Lama led officials assume responsibility in NRNA Japan