Results of US MOAB Strike in Afghanistan Remain Unknown

Reporters See Burned Trees, Little Else

While US officials have made much of the “message” sent by the use of the Massive Ordinance Air Blast bomb (MOAB, or Mother of All Bombs) to North Korea and other nations that aren’t Afghanistan, what they actually accomplished in having dropped a bomb on eastern Afghanistan remains very much uncertain.

Officially, from the Afghan government’s perspective, a  significant number of ISIS fighters were killed in the bombing. First 36 were reported killed, then 96 were reported killed. Evidence was never offered, nor is it ever expected to be. The Pentagon has insisted they aren’t ever going to assess what the bomb actually did on the ground.

Reuters reporters actually visited the site, and are also coming up very short on evidence of casualties in the bombing, saying they found a “scarred” mountainside and a bunch of burnt trees. They found no obvious crater nor any bodies.

Perhaps even more damning to the suggestion that the strike accomplished anything, Afghan soldiers in the area were exploring the tunnel system beneath the site of the bombing, which was apparently intact. This raises further doubts that the MOAB was even an appropriate weapon to use against a tunnel system, let alone an effective one.

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.