Last week, the US deployed the MOAB “Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan for the first time ever, dropping iit in a remote part of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province, supposedly against ISIS tunnels. Today, Pentagon officials confirmed that US ground troops are near the site of the bombing, still fighting ISIS forces.
The MOAB is the largest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed by the US, but what it actually accomplished is unclear, as the Pentagon has not confirmed any death tolls, and is keeping the site off-limits. That there are still ISIS fighters there to fight against, however, suggests that the MOAB was far from decisive.
Afghan officials have offered a pair of death tolls, initially claiming 36 and then revising it up to 96. ISIS is denying both, insisting that none of their fighters were actually killed in the bombing. No evidence has been offered of any death toll at any rate.
US officials appear to be trying to shift the narrative on the use of MOAB away from Afghanistan, insisting instead that the strike sends a message about President Trump’s “resolve” to other US enemies, particularly North Korea. For the sake of “sending a message,” the fact that the strike appears not to have accomplished anything is very much beside the point.