The US has deployed the largest non-nuclear bomb in its inventory on an ISIS target in a remote part of far northeast Afghanistan, the Pentagon confirmed on Thursday.
The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, aka the “Mother of All Bombs” or “MOAB,” weighs over 21,000 pounds.
It was developed during the Iraq war and is the US’s largest non-nuclear bomb. It had not been used in combat until now.
It was dropped on an ISIS-Khorasan camp in the Achin district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, which borders northwest Pakistan, US officials with direct knowledge of the mission told CNN.
An online simulator called HYDESim “maps overpressure radii generated by a ground-level detonation.”
“These radii are an indicator of structural damage to buildings,” the simulator explains.
Here’s how the 21,000 “Mother of All Bombs” would affect New York City, based on the HYDESim’s estimate of its explosive yield. (The exact yield is classified):
Based on the simulator’s calculations, the effects of the bomb would be felt as far as a mile in each direction, and “most glass surfaces, such as windows, will shatter … some with enough force to cause injury,” according to the simulator.
By contrast, the US’s most powerful nuclear bomb — the B83, with a 1.2 megaton maximum yield — would have a blast radius of nearly 20 miles:
Here’s how the MOAB would affect Los Angeles:
“The strike was designed to minimise the risk to Afghan and U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities,” US Central Command said in a statement on Thursday.
“As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defence,” Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said in the statement, referring to the ISIS branch in Afghanistan and Pakistan, ISIS-Khorasan.
“This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K.”
Watch footage of the MOAB being tested below:
Christopher Woody contributed reporting.
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