‘Mother of All Bombs’ Kills At Least 36 As International Tensions Rise
The U.S. military attacked ISIS fighters in Afghanistan with a GBU-43/B Massive Ordinance Air Blast, commonly referred to by its nickname, the “mother of all bombs.” The attack killed at least 36 ISIS militants and comes at a time when America has seen heightened escalation with Russia and North Korea.
The MOAB is among the largest non-nuclear weapons in the U.S.’s arsenal and was used for the first time ever and targeted a tunnel complex in Achin district of Nangarhar province. At a Friday press conference, Gen. John Nicholson, commander for U.S. Forces Afghanistan, also said there is no evidence of any civilian casualties as a result of the bombing.
“This was the right weapon against the right target,” Gen. Nicholson said adding that the U.S. is still inspecting the site, and that it “achieved its intended purpose.”
International Tensions Rise
The dramatic display of American military might comes as the United State sees an escalation in tension with Russia and North Korea.
Last week, the U.S. dropped 59 missiles in Syria on one of Bashar al-Assad’s airbase, angering Russian allies who have an increasingly fraught agreement to work with America in the war against ISIS insurgents in the region.
However, even as that international crisis was just barely passed, another international crisis became imminently possible on Friday when sources told NBC that the U.S. is prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials became convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test.
The U.S. has two destroyers capable of shooting Tomahawk cruise missiles in the region, one just 300 miles from the North Korean nuclear test site, and also heavy bombers positioned in Guam within range of the country.
As what is, unfortunately, a common practice at this point, earlier this week Trump sent a tweet adding to the tension:
“I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea,” he wrote. “If they are unable to do so, the U.S., with its allies, will! U.S.A.”
These tensions are expected to be on a knife’s edge Saturday if North Korea conducts another nuclear or missile test to mark the most important day on its calendar: the anniversary of the birthday of Kim Il Sung, the country’s founder, and Kim Jong Un’s grandfather.
Friday, North Korea showed defiance in the face of Trump’s preemptive provocations.
“We’ve got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands, and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a U.S. pre-emptive strike,” North Korea’s Vice Minister Han Song Ryol said. “Whatever comes from the U.S., we will cope with it. We are fully prepared to handle it.”
Additionally, China offered a stern warning to America and North Korea ahead of Saturday’s celebration.
“We urge all parties to refrain from inflammatory or threatening statements or deeds to prevent irreversible damage to the situation on the Korean Peninsula,” said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi who added that “storm clouds” were gathering over the region.
The MOAB dropped in Afghanistan may have directly targeted ISIS in this case, although it has acted as a provocative statement to the rest of the world.
Written by Steven Klett