The MOAB death toll in Afghanistan has reached 94, according to Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogiani. Although the number of casualties may increase in the coming days, officials are confident that no civilians were killed by the so-called “mother of all bombs.”
In a Friday interview with CNN, Khogiani confirmed the casualties were limited to “Daesh fighters,” which is another term used to describe ISIS militants. It should be noted that ISIS denied the claim and contends “none of [their] fighters were killed or injured” in the massive blast.
— Dave (@yourworlddaily) April 15, 2017
The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Burst, which is commonly referred to as MOAB, is the most powerful non-nuclear explosive device ever used in combat. Although Russia has tested a massive thermobaric bomb, which is reportedly “four times more powerful” than the MOAB, the so-called “father of all bombs” has never been used in combat.
As reported by Express, the MOAB was specifically designed to destroy large expanses of land and underground targets that are otherwise difficult to reach. Military officials said the 30-foot bomb weighs more than 22,000 pounds and is capable of clearing up to one mile of land — including caves, caverns, and man-made tunnels.
On April 13, 2017, the mother of all bombs was deployed in the Achin District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. According to reports, the United States military was targeting an estimated 600 to 800 ISIS militants — who were active in the region.
Officials in Afghanistan and the United States confirmed the resulting blast obliterated at least three ISIS tunnels — where ammunition and weapons were routinely stored. The MOAB death toll is currently 94. However, authorities said no civilians were hurt or killed in the explosion. All 94 casualties were confirmed to be ISIS fighters.
Despite the fact that they were not physically harmed, residents throughout the region were frightened by the massive blast. In an interview with The Guardian, Mohammad Shahzadah said he and his family were having dinner when the mother of all bombs struck its target.
“The earth felt like a boat in a storm… I thought my house was being bombed. Last year a drone strike targeted a house next to mine, but this time it felt like the heavens were falling. The children and women were very scared.”
In addition to frightening he and his family, Mohammad said the blast caused him to experience hearing loss in the minutes following the explosion. His home also suffered extensive damage, including broken doors, windows, and “cracks in the walls.”
Although the MOAB bombing was defended as necessary to hamper a ruthless terrorist group, critics have argued that the strike was unnecessarily disruptive to civilians throughout the region.
Achin Mayor Naweed Shinwari acknowledged that “ISIS are brutal and… they have committed atrocities… ” However, he said the massive blast “terrorized” the locals.
“My relatives thought the end of the world had come. Every day fighter jets, helicopters and drones are in the area… Isis was on the brink of losing their stronghold. It didn’t seem like there was a need for such a dramatic military measure.”
During a recent news conference, Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, defended the strike against ISIS. In his opinion, “it was the right time to use [the MOAB] tactically against the right target on the battlefield.”
— ABP News (@abpnewstv) April 15, 2017
As the site of the blast is still being searched, the MOAB death toll may increase in the coming days and weeks. At this time, officials seem confident that the casualties are, and will continue to be, limited to ISIS militants. Although the terrorist group has denied any of their people were harmed in the blasts, sources in Afghanistan and the United States have refuted that assertion.
[Featured Image by Getmilitaryphotos/Shutterstock]