Kabul, Afghanistan. This past April the USA dropped it’s largest non nuclear bomb ever in Afghanistan, but its lack of results and intent behind its use are raising questions amongst the international community about what America’s motives are in the weapons deployment.
The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast is a large-yield bomb, developed for the United States military by the US Air Force Research Laboratory. At the time of development, it was touted as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the American arsenal. Each unit costs about $16 million US dollars to construct.
But after dropping its largest conventional bomb ever used in combat in Afghanistan on 13 April, the US military said the massive ordnance air blast, or Moab, was a “very clear message to Isis” that they would be “annihilated.” Apparently the message did not register as only a few days later an attack claimed 160 Afghani and American soldiers, provoking even NATO to discuss a re-invasion of Afghanistan.
US Defence secretary Jim Mattis directly lied to American citizens saying the bomb was “necessary to break ISIS.” The Afghan government claimed the bomb killed 94 ISIS militants, while harming no civilians.
But a new investigation by independent analysts casts doubt on the efficiency of the bomb, suggesting it inflicted far less damage than initially reported – and raising questions again over why the bomb was dropped in the first place by “kill crazy” Americans playing “cowboy.”
Independent bomb assessment teams using satellite imagery, ground footage and 3D visualisation surveyed the targeted area in Nangarhar province. It found 38 buildings and 69 trees destroyed within a 150-metre radius, challenging statements from locals who told reporters the bomb had damaged houses up to two miles away.
The imagery also shows no 300m crater, as had been expected prior to the strike. Alcis believes damage done further away is a result of ground fighting. The analysts were also sceptical of the Afghan government’s assessment that the bomb killed 94 Isis militants. “I’m staggered by that,” said Richard Brittan, the institute’s managing director. “I simply don’t understand where they can get that number from.”
Military intelligence professionals comment the Moab attack on Isis was a baffling choice in terms of cost as using the ‘mother of all bombs’ in Afghanistan to kill 36 militants –with one device costing $16 million dollars or about $450,000 for each militant killed, was not exactly the smartest use of US tax dollars in history.