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US drops largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan

A handout photo made available by the US Department of Defense (DoD) shows a GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb being prepared for testing at the Eglin Air Force Armament Center, Florida, USA, on 11 March 2003. A Pentagon spokesman announced on 13 April 2017 the use of GBU-43 bomb for the first time against caves used by Islamic State (IS) in eastern Afghanistan?s Nangahar province. The MOAB is a precision-guided munition weighing 21,500 pounds. It is the largest non-nuclear conventional weapon in existence. EPA/Department of Defense / HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

Washington, Apr 13 (efe-epa).- The United States on Thursday dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal on an underground Islamic State complex in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said.

This marks the first use in combat of the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) device, also known as the “mother of all bombs,” the Defense Department said.

Initially designed with an eye toward use in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the MOAB is 30 feet (9.15 meters) long and weighs more than 10 tons.

The US military Central Command said in a statement that the bomb was dropped from a C-130 Hercules aircraft on a complex of caves and tunnels in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan.

The attacked targeted a faction of Islamic State that US officials denote as ISIS-Khorasan, based on the jihadis’ name for that region of Afghanistan.

“As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs (improvised explosive devices), bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense,” the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John W. Nicholson, said.

“This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K,” he said.

The deployment of the MOAB comes less than a week after a US Special Forces soldier was killed in a clash with ISIS-K in the area.

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