This Is What The 'Mother Of All Bombs' Looks Like When It Hits Its Target

Air Force photo

On Thursday, the U.S. Air Force used a GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb in combat for the first time in history.

The second-largest non-nuclear bomb in the Pentagon’s arsenal, the ordnance was dropped on an ISIS tunnel network and insurgents in the Achin district of the Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.

“The airstrike was designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities,” CENTCOM said in a statement.

First tested in 2003 and unofficially nicknamed the "mother of all bombs," the GBU-43 is a 21,600-pound, GPS-guided munition that utilizes an airburst detonation that increases its destructive range. It is second in the U.S. military’s arsenal of massive bombs only to the GBU-57A/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator, which weighs in at a whopping 30,000 pounds and can cut through 22 feet of concrete or over 100 feet of earth, according to Wired.

Yes, this is a massive, massive bomb, but you don’t fully get a sense of its power until you see what it looks like in action:

This may be the first deployment of the GBU-43 in U.S. military history, but based on Pentagon statements, it likely won’t be the last. Previously, the bomb was only used in psychological warfare: intimidation.

“As ISIS-K's losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense," Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in the statement. "This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K."

President Donald Trump praised the strike as a success.

"We have incredible leaders in the military and we have incredible military and we are very proud of them," he said. "This was another very, very successful mission."

Two Air Force pararescue Airmen were awarded the Silver Star Medal on Friday for saving dozens of lives during separate Afghan battles in 2018 and 2019.

Tech Sgt. Gavin Fisher and Staff Sgt. Daniel Swensen both received the third highest military award for their bravery. Fisher also received the Purple Heart for wounds received in combat.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews the honor guards of the Chinese People's Liberation (PLA) Navy before boarding the destroyer Xining for the naval parade celebrating the 70th founding anniversary of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in Qingdao, Shandong province, China April 23, 2019. Xinhua via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government covertly moved to expel two officials from the Chinese embassy earlier this year, after they drove onto a military base, the New York Times reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

The newspaper reported on Sunday that one of the two Chinese officials is believed to be an intelligence officer operating under diplomatic cover.

The Chinese officials breached security at a base in Virginia this fall, and only stopped driving after fire trucks were used to block their path, the Times said.

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

President Donald Trump is set to announce the withdrawal of roughly 4,000 US troops from Afghanistan as early as next week, NBC News reported on Saturday based on conversations with three current and former officials.

This would come as the US is engaged in ongoing, troubled peace talks with the Taliban. The talks resumed in early December after Trump abruptly scrapped negotiations with the Taliban in September, only to be paused again this week after an attack near Bagram Airfield on Wednesday.

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Photo: National Archives

Thomas Hoke can still recall the weather in December 1944, and the long days that followed.

The battle started on Dec. 16, but his company arrived Dec. 27 and would stay there until the battle's end, nearly a month later. By the time he arrived, snow had blanketed Germany in what was one of the biggest storms the country had seen in years.

"It was 20 below and a heavy fog encompassed the whole area," Hoke, 96, recalled from his Emmitsburg home.

The fog was to Germany's advantage because Allied aircraft were grounded, including recognizance flights, allowing the Nazis to slip in.

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West Point is investigating a hand gesture made by several cadets and midshipmen during an ESPN pre-game broadcast at the Army-Navy game Saturday after clips of the signals went viral because of their association with white power.

"West Point is looking into the matter," a spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "At this time we do not know the intent of the cadets."

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