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Thursday, April 13, 2017

U.S. unleashes 'mother of all bombs' for first time in Afghanistan, HAPPY EASTER to AFGHANISTAN

Thu Apr 13, 2017 | 5:44 PM EDT ‘How many civilians killed there?’ Twitter rages as Trump drops 'mother of all bombs' on Afghanistan Published time: 13 Apr, 2017 21:31 Edited time: 13 Apr, 2017 23:21 Get short URL The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) © Elgin Air Force Base / Reuters AddThis Sharing Buttons Share to Facebook 408 Share to Twitter Share to Reddit Share to StumbleUpon Share to Google+ Share to Tumblr The US Military dropping the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat enflamed social media users on Thursday, drawing comments from many prominent figures including Edward Snowden. Trends Viral READ MORE: US drops largest non-nuclear bomb on Afghanistan, first time used in combat  The mega GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), dubbed the "Mother of all bombs”, is the largest non-nuclear bomb ever to be used in a combat setting. US forces dropped it in the Achin district of Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan at 7pm local time on Thursday. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden noted the strike was designed to destroy a network of tunnels that the US itself had funded during the 1980s when CIA backed Jihadists were fighting the Soviet Union. The colossal bomb, over 30 feet long and weighing more than 21,000 pounds, creates a blast radius stretching a mile in each direction. It is made of a thin aluminium skin that is designed to “maximise the blast effect,” according to Frederick Davis of the Air force Research Laboratory, who designed the destructive device.  Footage from a 2003 test shows the enormous scale of the blast. According to the Air Force, the test produced an impact cloud that could be seen from 20 miles away. The bombing drew floods of responses on social media, with many noting that the extremely expensive explosive could have paid for public services, such as Meals on Wheels, whose budgets are being cut by the Trump administration. Meanwhile, many others expressed support for the move saying it would help defeat ISIS. Trump himself described it as "another successful job”. The GPS-guided bomb was built for the Iraq war to pressure Saddam Hussein, but none had ever been used until Thursday. "The goal is to have the pressure be so great that Saddam Hussein cooperates,” then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an interview about the bomb in 2003. "Short of that… the goal is to have the capabilities of the coalition so clear and so obvious that there is an enormous disincentive for the Iraqi military to fight against the coalition.” 2h ago | 01:28 U.S. drops 'mother of all bombs' in Afghanistan U.S. unleashes 'mother of all bombs' for first... X By Idrees Ali | WASHINGTON 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. President Donald Trump touted the bombing as evidence of a more muscular U.S. 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, which has 11 tons of explosives, 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. (Graphic - U.S. drops massive bomb in Afghanistan IMG : tmsnrt.rs/2nKoKks) 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. Other types of bombs can be more effective against deeper, hardened tunnels. 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 U.S. military muscles last week by ordering a cruise missile attack on a Syrian government airbase in retaliation for a poison gas attack. "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 U.S. invasion which toppled the Taliban government. So far, Trump has offered little clarity about a broader strategy for Afghanistan, where some 8,400 U.S. troops remain. LONG AFGHAN WAR Last week, a U.S. soldier was killed in the same district as where the bomb was dropped while he was conducting operations against Islamic State. 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 U.S. military advisers and Afghan forces in the area." ‹ 3/3 The GBU-43/B is launched from a MC-130E Combat Talon I at Elgin Air Force Base in Florida on November 21, 2003. Reuters/U.S. Air Force photo/Handout/File photo 1/3 The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb is pictured in this undated handout photo. Elgin Air Force Base/Handout via Reuters 2/3 The GBU-43/B, also known as the Massive Ordnance Air Blast, detonates during a test at Elgin Air Force Base, Florida, U.S., November 21, 2003 in this handout photo provided April 13, 2017. Reuters/U.S. Air Force photo/Handout via REUTERS 3/3 The GBU-43/B is launched from a MC-130E Combat Talon I at Elgin Air Force Base in Florida on November 21, 2003. Reuters/U.S. Air Force photo/Handout/File photo 1/3 The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb is pictured in this undated handout photo. Elgin Air Force Base/Handout via Reuters › Spicer said the bomb was dropped at around 7 p.m. local time and described it as "a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon." U.S. forces took "all precautions necessary to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage," he said. Afghan soldiers and police, with the aid of thousands of foreign military advisers, are struggling to hold off a resurgent insurgency led by the Taliban, as well as other groups like Islamic State. The U.S. government's top watchdog on Afghanistan said earlier this year that the Afghan government controls less than 60 percent of the country. Foreign policy experts said that it appeared the use of a specialized weapon like the GBU-43 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. Related Coverage VIDEOU.S. drops mega-bomb on ISIS caves in Afghanistan 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. U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the use of this bomb was a sign that the United States was committed to Afghanistan. But Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a Democrat who was the only "no" vote for authorization for use of military force in Afghanistan in 2001, said the move was unprecedented and asked for an explanation. "President Trump owes the American people an explanation about his escalation of military force in Afghanistan and his long-term strategy to defeat ISIS," she said in a statement. The top U.S. 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. U.S. officials say intelligence suggests Islamic State is based overwhelmingly in Nangarhar and neighboring Kunar province. Estimates of its strength in Afghanistan vary. U.S. 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 U.S.-backed government in Kabul, are fiercely opposed to Islamic State and the two group have clashed as they seek to expand territory and influence. (Reporting by Idrees Ali. Additional reporting by Steve Holland, Patricia Zengerle and Will Dunham.; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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