US Struggles to Justify MOAB Strike on Afghanistan

More Claimed Deaths Come Amid Doubts About Point of Strike

Last week, the US dropped its MOAB, or “Mother of All Bombs,” the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used, was dropped on Afghanistan. Though ISIS denied any deaths in the attack, the Afghan government claimed 36 ISIS fighters were killed, and no civilians.

This claim, which did not include evidence of the deaths, was still a questionable outcome for the MOAB strike, dropping an $18 million bomb to kill a handful of ISIS fighters. Faced with that, the Afghan government revised the death toll upward, now claiming 94 ISIS fighters killed, none of them civilians.

Of course, this new death toll similarly came with no evidence it happened either, and the fact that the US has made no public attempt to come up with evidence themselves for the military gains created by the strikes underscores the reality that the MOAB strike wasn’t about Afghanistan at all.

Rather, with President Trump ratcheting up tensions across the world, and playing up the idea of imposing military solutions in Syria and North Korea, this strike once again plays up the narrative that he’s up for heedlessly escalating military strikes, even in a situation where the use of the MOAB wasn’t warranted nor amounted to anything. The big explosion, ultimately, was the whole point, and the death toll very much irrelevant, despite desperate attempts by the Afghan government to justify it.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of