US Defends Use of MOAB in Afghanistan, Despite Questionable Results

$18 Million Bomb at Most Killed 36 People, Reports Say

Yesterday’s attack with the “Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB) by US forces against eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province was done without approval from President Trump, Pentagon officials insist, saying that they believe they didn’t need any such approval.

Officials continue to defend the strike as appropriate and claim it was a success, but the information on the ground is certainly raising doubts about that, with the Afghan government claiming the strike with the largest non-nuclear bomb in the US arsenal killed 36 ISIS fighters, and ISIS saying that no one was killed at all in the strike.

The “best case” from the Pentagon’s perspective, the 36 killed all being ISIS, is a pretty dubious result for the deployment of an $18 million bomb. Since larger numbers of ISIS reported killed have never had a lasting impact on the organization, it appears MOAB accomplished little, except for being high-profile.

The big impact was that it terrified a lot of civilians living in the surrounding area, who obviously weren’t told what was happening until well after the fact. This is also going to add to distrust of the US, which 16 years into their occupation of Afghanistan is already in short supply.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.