New Satellite Photos Suggest The ‘Mother Of All Bombs’ Did Its Job In Afghanistan

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A mushroom cloud rises from the detonation of the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) in Nangarhar province in Afghanistan on April 13, 2017.
Photo via DoD

Despite the hullabaloo over the U.S. Air Force’s decision to drop the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) in Nangarhar province in Afghanistan, we still don’t really understand the scope of the destruction caused by the “mother of all bombs.”


Sure, the footage of the detonation released by the Department of Defense is damn impressive, and reports suggest the blast killed at least 94 ISIS militants. But the Pentagon has remained relatively tight-lipped on the impact of the devastating weapon, and local media reports allege that U.S. forces have sealed off the area from civilians, journalists, and Afghan security forces.

But new satellite photos from aerospace firm Airbus Space and Defense appear to capture the devastating impact of the MOAB in all its glory:

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The War Zone suggests that, based on these photos, the MOAB did exactly what it was supposed to do: flatten everything in its blast radius. “The massive air blast appeared to have worked just as advertised, with the mountainside focusing it effects, and the shock wave expanding down into the valley below,” The War Zone’s Tyler Rogoway observes. “The images above also closely correlate with the official infrared video we have seen of the strike.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that despite the bomb’s high casualty rate, ISIS militants continue to engage American troops and Afghan security forces “who are calling in more airstrikes to target the militants’ positions.”

That’s okay, though! If Mattis is impressed, then so are we — and even the secretary of defense isn’t too fixated on body counts.

“For many years we have not been calculating the results of warfare by simply quantifying the number of enemy killed,” Mattis told reporters of the MOAB during his trip to the Middle East on Thursday. “You all know of the corrosive effect of that sort of metric back in the Vietnam War. It’s something that has stayed with us all these years … You don’t want to start calculating things, as far as what matters, in the crude terms of battle casualties.”

Joel Marrable (Laquna Ross via CNN)

Dawn Brys got an early taste of the crisis unfolding at the largest Veterans Affairs hospital in the Southeast.

The Air Force vet said she went to the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Decatur last year for surgery on a broken foot. But the doctor called it off because the surgical instruments hadn't been properly sterilized.

"The tools had condensation on them," recalled Brys, a 50-year-old Marietta resident. The doctor rescheduled it for the next day.

Now the 400-plus-bed hospital on Clairmont Road that serves about 120,000 military veterans is in a state of emergency. It suspended routine surgeries in late September after a string of incidents that exposed mismanagement and dangerous practices. It hopes to resume normal operations by early November as it struggles to retrain staff and hire new nurses.

The partial shutdown came about two weeks after Joel Marrable, a cancer patient in the same VA complex, was found covered with more than 100 ant bites by his daughter. Also in September, the hospital's canteen was temporarily closed for a pest investigation.

The mounting problems triggered a leadership shakeup Sept. 17, when regional director Leslie Wiggins was put on administrative leave. Dr. Arjay K. Dhawan, the regional medical director, was moved to administrative duties pending an investigation. Seven staff members were reassigned to non-patient care.

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Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney takes questions during a news briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2019. (Reuters/Leah Millis)

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Reuters journalists at the border heard machine-gun fire and shelling and saw smoke rising from the Syrian border battlefield city of Ras al Ain, although the sounds of fighting had subsided by mid-morning.

The truce, announced on Thursday by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, sets out a five-day pause to let the Kurdish-led SDF militia withdraw from an area controlled by Turkish forces.

The SDF said air and artillery attacks continued to target its positions and civilian targets in Ral al Ain.

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