General John W Nicholson, commander of the US forces in Afghanistan, on Thursday confirmed that the 22,600-pound GBU-43, a.k.a. MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or Mother of All Bombs, take your pick) had been dropped on an ISIS-Khorsan mountain tunnel system in the Momand Dara area of Achin district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. The General explained that “as ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers, and tunnels to thicken their defense,” and This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles.”
Thursday’s attack was the first time the MOAB, which has been around since 2002, was used in real combat. According to reports, the blast from the explosion—equal to 11 tons of TNT—rushed through the mile wide mountain-cave tunnels complex, destroying everything in its path.
The Afghan defense ministry on Friday ruled out the possibility of civilian casualties, stating that “As a result of the bombing, key ISIS hideouts and a deep tunnel complex were destroyed, and 36 ISIS fighters were killed.”
White House Spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters Thursday: “The United States takes the fight against ISIS very seriously. And in order to defeat the group, we must deny them operational space, which we did. The United States took all precautions necessary to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage as a result of the operation. Any further details, I would refer you to the Department of Defense on that.”
It stands to reason, however, that while the immediate target of this attack was ISIS, the MOAB was also directed-indirectly at another mad player in our global theater of threatened annihilation: North Korea. A reported pointed to Spicer that President Trump had told the Wall Street Journal that President Xi Jinping had helped him realize that North Korea is “not so easy” to handle – to which Spicer responded, after the MOAB show of force, that “if China is able to help get a deal with [North Korea] the President would appreciate that. I think this would be great for China as well. And as the President noted this morning, if China can help us do that, it will be great. And if not, we’ll go and handle that ourselves with our allies.”
Yes, it appears President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are no longer in charge, and an activist president is intent on doing what needs to be done to end a fanatical assault against the civilized world. And, as Spicer put it, should China wish to help this effort, it would be welcome, if not – that’s OK, too.