US drops largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan

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WASHINGTON — The US military has dropped an enormous bomb in Afghanistan, according to four US military officials with direct knowledge of the mission.

A GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, nicknamed MOAB, was dropped at 7 p.m. local time Thursday, the sources said.

The MOAB is also known as the “mother of all bombs.” A MOAB is a 21,600-pound, GPS-guided munition that is America’s most powerful non-nuclear bomb.

This undated photo provided by Eglin Air Force Base shows a GBU-43B, or massive ordnance air blast weapon, the U.S. military’s largest non-nuclear bomb, which contains 11 tons of explosives. The Pentagon said U.S. forces in Afghanistan dropped a GBU-43B on an Islamic State target in Afghanistan on Thursday, April 13, 2017, in what a Pentagon spokesman said was the first-ever combat use of the bomb. (Eglin Air Force Base via AP)

The bomb was dropped by an MC-130 aircraft, operated by Air Force Special Operations Command, according to the military sources.

They said the target was ISIS tunnels and personnel in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province.

The military is currently assessing the damage. Gen. John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, signed off on the use of the bomb, according to the sources.

This is the first time a MOAB has been used in the battlefield, according to the US officials. This munition was developed during the Iraq War.