US drops 'Mother of All Bombs' on ISIS in Afghanistan

Images from a video released by the US Department of Defense showing (clockwise from top left) the explosion of the "Mother of All Bombs" when it struck the Achin district of the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghanistan.
Images from a video released by the US Department of Defense showing (clockwise from top left) the explosion of the "Mother of All Bombs" when it struck the Achin district of the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghanistan.PHOTO: REUTERS

KABUL • Afghan officials yesterday said dozens of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militants were killed when the US military dropped its biggest conventional bomb on caves used by the group in eastern Afghanistan.

The strike on remote Achin district on Thursday was the first use in combat of the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, nicknamed the "Mother of All Bombs".

It marked the second time in recent days that the US has shown its firepower. Over a week ago, it fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase following a chemical weapons attack on a rebel town that the US blames on Syrian government forces.

While US President Donald Trump had pledged to wipe out ISIS, analysts say the strike could also be meant as a warning to other countries - such as North Korea, Iran, Russia and Syria - that the US would not hesitate to use its powerful arsenal if necessary. A Russian senator yesterday said the bombing might lead to a new round of arms race and raise tensions worldwide.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2017, with the headline 'US drops 'Mother of All Bombs' on ISIS in Afghanistan'. Print Edition | Subscribe