Residents: MOAB Was More of a Dud

Locals Say Bomb Nowhere Near as Strong as You'd Think

The April 13 strike by US forces in eastern Afghanistan saw the first deployment of the MOAB, the Mother of All Bombs, in a combat situation, dropped against ISIS forces in tunnels. The 22,000 lb pound was much vaunted for its huge size, the biggest non-nuclear weapon in the US arsenal, and presented as a “message” to other nations.

The reality, not so much. Locals report that the MOAB did way less damage than you’d think, noting that there were green trees still standing 100 meters from the center of the blast, with no sign of damage, and that the tunnels the ISIS fighters were within appear all but untouched.

While there was already considerable doubt about the Afghan government’s claims of 96 ISIS having been killed, particularly in the absence of any evidence, locals expressed doubts that the strike had killed anyone at all. There certainly were no deaths on the surface, and with the tunnels intact, the Pentagon’s decision to rule out checking on the death toll may have been deliberate to avoid this reality.

Indeed, the US appears to have been fully aware that the bomb didn’t accomplish anything, and locals say other airstrikes have been happening in the weeks that followed, while ground troops end up trying to root out ISIS forces, exactly as they would’ve had to if the MOAB wasn’t dropped in the first place.

Many residents aren’t too happy about this, saying they believe the US use of the MOAB strike near their homes makes them “pawns” in a false narrative about how well the fight against ISIS is going, even as that fight continues on.

On top of that, a lot of the bodies turning up aren’t ISIS fighters at all, but members of a local “people’s uprising” that are willing to help fight against ISIS, and are really hoping to see ISIS expelled from Nangarhar. That ISIS has been announced expelled multiple times already means many aren’t getting their hopes up, however.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • Luchorpan

    Now Washington will just build an even bigger bomb! FOAB (How sexist!)

    And of course we’ll need a special multi-trillion dollar airship to fly the thing in.

    • Don’t forget the Brother, Sister, Son and Daughter of all Bombs.

      • Tecumseh1768

        I like the “Third Cousin Twice Removed of all Bombs”
        Some people call it an M80

  • A multi million dollar military industrial complex boondoggle failed?!? Je suis astonished.

    Those of you who know me on Facebook and Google Plus will be aware that I said within hours of the MOAB announcement that it wouldn’t harm ISIS at all. And I’m hardly an insider.

    • RedStatePatriot

      Well since it killed over 90 ISIS fighters, I guess you were wrong. You do realize this is a “antiwar.com” website…. perhaps just a tad biased.

      • Even the BBC has admitted that the caves under the “bomb” were untouched and that trees a hundred metres from the blast site still had their leaves, while airstrikes are constantly going on in the same area. So ISIS wasn’t hurt at all, and they themselves claim they lost no fighters, not even one. Going by the total lack of actual damage and the record of the ultra corrupt, child rapist warlord Afghan regime, even ISIS has a far greater credibility than they do.

        • Bomb Damage Assessments tend to be exaggerated in the positive by the side dropping the bombs.

          On the side being bombed, they may be exaggerated in the negative (“it’s only a flesh wound”) or in the positive (“you barbarians killed three million non-combatants”) depending on which line of propaganda seems most likely to be beneficial.

          As for the rest of us, we have no idea how many (if any) were killed, and whether they were combatants or not.

          • Let’s see:

            How many ISIS are there in Afghanistan? Even by the highest accounts, maybe 800? In the entire nation? Of which how many were in this one location? Nobody seems to know, but surely not more than a hundred or two? Not even the villagers in the locality say anything to suggest more. So at least 50% of them were wiped out according to the Trump administration and the warlord regime? So how come, over a week after the bomb, are airstrikes still going on there? That alone should argue strongly that the ISIS account of having lost nobody is more likely to be true.

            That is apart from photography showing next to no damage whatever.

          • Ah, I see, it’s worse than I thought. It’s not just that you don’t know, it’s that you don’t know that you don’t know. That’s the hardest kind of not knowing to get the person who doesn’t know to understand not knowing.

        • RedStatePatriot

          And by “untouched” you mean not collapsed, right….. exactly as the military planners expected. The bomb killed by overpressure and suffocation, not collapsing the tunnels.

          • Meaning there is no sign of damage whatsoever. No wreckage, no dress, nothing.

            Why haven’t you volunteered to go and fight in Afghanistan, incidentally?

          • RedStatePatriot

            LOL, no damage whatsoever…. you are a very funny guy. There are no structures standing above ground, just flattened stone and mud huts. The fact that you get your information from an “anti War” site that is clearly biased, is very telling.

            There is video of the bomb going off, after that it is a matter of physics… 22000 lbf of explosives going off just above the ground will cause a LOT of destruction, what part of physics do you not believe? I thought you Leftists were all about Science… well unless its about when life begins, or economics, or massive explosions when they are killing terrorists that you are sympathetic too.

            And what does any of this have to do with me going to Afghanistan to fight? Besides you have no idea where I might have already fought, now do you?

        • RedStatePatriot

          Provide a link to a source, the last BBC reports I see all say over 90.

  • Keya Dash

    Perhaps they’d prefer we nuke them next time.

    • PJ London

      Actually, they would prefer that you just went home and stayed there.

      • Keya Dash

        You make it sound like we went to that dust bowl for no good reason and unprovoked. They brought their terrorism to our shores. You should be telling them to stay home.

        • PJ London

          If you are stupid enough to believe that 9/11 was brought about by Arabs with knife cutters then you do not have the intellect to make rational decisions. I bet that you even had the gall to vote.
          Every other person in the world knows that two small aeroplanes cannot destroy 3 (count them 3 ) huge buildings. Except for the brain dead idiots who make up the American public.
          The only thing the Afghans ever did was to tell you to shove your pipeline, they did not want to be a western country.
          If you have even an iota of intelligence Google ‘Carpet of gold or carpet of bombs’
          ”’the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia have been controlled by Russia. The Bush government wanted to change all that”.

          But, confronted with Taliban’s refusal to accept U.S. conditions, ”this rationale of energy security changed into a military one”, the authors claim.

          ”At one moment during the negotiations, the U.S. representatives told the Taliban, ‘either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs’,” Brisard said in an interview in Paris.’ https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/987814ae2c664b38da7583923bb98fffd6fc7655ac89a158d7a1fb272ea28254.jpg
          Get a brain.

  • chris chuba

    It’s an airburst weapon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GBU-43/B_MOAB
    The story that it was meant to ‘take out the tunnels’ doesn’t really make sense.
    It was a PR stunt.

    It is by definition, a dumb bomb. Even if it worked perfectly, it would indiscriminately destroy targets up to a radius of 1 mile yet we howl at the use of ‘barrel bombs’ by the Syrian Air Force.

    Actually, if we had a watchdog media, someone in the MSM would have asked, ‘what makes this different than a very large barrel bomb?’ But the leashed MSM is well trained.

    • Tecumseh1768

      Agreed. But to answer the question in your last paragraph, the price.

    • John Hankinson

      I can picture Michael Bay starting to drool. MSM taking a cue from Hollywood?

    • RedStatePatriot

      “It is by definition, a dumb bomb”, not true the MOAB is a guided weapon, it has control “paddle” fins and is GPS guided.

      “to ‘take out the tunnels’ doesn’t really make sense”, Ahhhh actually thermobaric airburst weapon like the MOAB is perfect to take out tunnels. Anyone in those tunnels was killed by the massive overpressure and shock wave that would have travelled all the way to the bottom of those tunnels. Anyone that miraculously survived would suffocate from oxygen depletion, that would not return to normal quite some time.

      “radius of 1 mile yet we howl at the use of ‘barrel bombs’ by the Syrian Air Force”, we don’t gripe about barrel bombs because they are big, its because they intentionally drop them on non military gatherings of people. The MOAB was dropped in a remote area, and posed no danger to the nearest village.

  • ALEXANDRU Nemoianu

    The MOB was ineffective. As such Trump will use the strong one.He himself will unleash one of his terminal stinkies(that is hot putrid air produced in his gut;vulgo dictu: farts).That will be very powerful.

    • ArenHaich

      Bertolt Brecht, August 6th. 1945, on hearing the news of atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima; wrote: “megafart” in his diary.

    • RedStatePatriot

      Getting your information about the effectiveness of bombs from an anti-war propaganda site might not be the best idea. The MOAB killed over 90 ISIS fighters…. sounds like it did pretty good to me.

  • Carol Moore

    This was supposed to be a message to No Korea US can use MOAB on their hundreds of dug in tunnels (complete with blast doors) with thousands of artillery that can destroy Seoul. Guess No Korea got message they don’t work too well. And we all got message US will HAVE to use a bunch of nukes to stop the artillery destruction of Seoul. Our radiation will only make it uninhabitable for a few hundred years, after all.

  • Mark Thomason

    The MOAB is an air blast weapon, not a penetrating weapon. Air blast just isn’t all that effective, at least not until it gets to nuclear levels of thousands of tons of TNT equivalent. It was unreasonable to think it would have any vast effect on tunnels. It was show.

    • unam_sanctum

      murder for show is the definition of terrorism.

    • RedStatePatriot

      “Air blast just isn’t all that effective”…. LOL, what?

      • It isn’t all that effective against troops not out in the open or in light buildings.

        • RedStatePatriot

          The shock effects and oxygen depletion will kill anyone under ground in a tunnel quite effectively… I thought you Leftists believed in Science. I guess those pesky laws of thermodynamics and Physics just need to be ignored when you guys want to play make believe.

        • RedStatePatriot

          So when the 2 atomic bombs we dropped in WWII when off, up in the air as in they were both Air-burst, they caused no damage right?

  • MyWikiDisQus

    Just who is the “enemy” the United States is fighting against in Afghanistan, ISIS, Inc. or the Taliban? This article fails to mention the political response from the Taliban leadership; what gives?

    • Tecumseh1768

      The enemy is whoever Washington says it is…..this week…..subject to change.

  • NobodysaysBOO

    OF COURSE it was a dud , lots of cheap crap sold to you by sweatshops will not work right ever. They used to pack explosives into Navy cannon barrels to penetrate hardened targets now that WAS a barrel bomb.
    I bet that most of our nuks will not work as advertized either, NO SECOND try!

    • RedStatePatriot

      If any of you morons would go watch the actual video of the bomb going off, you might understand that is worked just fine, and killed over 90 ISIL fighters in the tunnel complex.

      • NobodysaysBOO

        BS , ZZZZZZ!

        • RedStatePatriot

          Oh so actual video of the actual bomb going off is not proof enough to you? Yeah after all why believe your own eyeballs when you can just pretend you didn’t see that huge explosion.

          • NobodysaysBOO

            911 was a CARTOON AIRPLANE, beer cans do not fly thru STEEL beams .

          • RedStatePatriot

            OMG…. I always knew I could count on good laughs coming to an “anti-war” site… So you think Airliners are made from beer cans huh? LOL, you are a hoot. Wanna explain Young’s Modulus and it’s Temperature relationship to the plastic portion of the Steel Yield curve at the maximum thermal effect of JP4 while your at it? Listening to you Loons making Imbecilic comments like “steel won’t melt at those temperatures” is so entertaining to us Engineers, please keep talking I need some laughs this weekend.

          • NobodysaysBOO

            stay home fool.

        • RedStatePatriot

          Ok so the bomb didn’t go off then?

          • NobodysaysBOO

            IF and it is a big BIG IF anytime the US propaganda machine in Israel want to INFORM the public about anything, the bunker tunnels where built by the AMERICANS and where probably FULL of bombs and demolition charges for just this moment, like the 911 replacement tower is already likely RIGGED up to blow like a HILLARY election.

          • RedStatePatriot

            Ok, go upstairs and ask your Mommy for your Med’s now Loon…. really, its for your own good.

          • NobodysaysBOO

            drop dead

          • NobodysaysBOO

            assholes like you need a mommy to wipe you mouth.

  • Like Trump’s administration itself, a big, costly dud. The cost was the point; I’m sure it resulted in increased military industrial complex profits, for that’s the ONLY reason the US ever drops a bomb. Whatever else results is just collateral damage.

  • lordbaldric

    The 11 ton blast yield of this thing isn’t all that the hype from many made it out to be. That it would destroy everything within a mile radius is a silly fantasy. It would have to be 1000 times more powerful to do that.