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How Much Did We Actually Achieve By Dropping The MOAB In Afghanistan?
When the U.S. military dropped the GBU-43, known as the MOAB — short for Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or it’s more grabby nickname, the mother of all bombs — on a network of tunnels belonging to Islamic State militants in Afghanistan, it made headlines the world over. Reports of the April 13 strike in Nangarhar province in Afghanistan ran on every major outlet — some set to the uber-patriotic song stylings of Toby Keith, underscoring the bomb’s role as both a tactical asset and a propaganda tool.
But the psychological impact of a strike drops off if nobody knows about the damage it inflicts. A recent report from Alcis, an institute for geographical analysis, which surveyed the targeted area, casts some doubt on the scope and devastation wrought by the MOAB in Nangarhar.
An 11-ton cannister packed to the brim with a highly stable H6 explosive material, the MOAB sends out a massive shockwave when it detonates, making it perfect for the target it was used against — a labyrinth of tunnels with winding corridors concealing militants from the reach of traditional bunker-busting ordnance, notes Wired. But you can’t outrun a torrent of fire and concussive force that winds its way around corners.
Aside from making a pretty big boom, the MOAB makes an equally profound statement, writes Wired’s Emily Dreyfuss — who spoke with a national security official, under the condition of anonymity, about the psychological impact of dropping the mother of all bombs.
"This time, the MOAB served its best strategic purpose — though that may extend beyond the actual impact. Dropping the mother of all bombs also sends a message ‘to the Taliban that there’s a new sheriff in town,’ says the national security official. Presumably also to ISIS, North Korea, and Iran. And the fact that it’s such a big blast doesn’t hurt for courting media attention that helps deliver that warning.
However, if the MOAB failed to rack up the ISIS body count suggested by Afghan military officials, that message could have an adverse effect.
Using satellite imagery, Alcis found that 38 buildings and 69 trees within a 150-meter radius were destroyed, which conflicts with statements from local officials who told reporters on the ground that houses miles away were impacted, according to The Guardian. Additionally, the reports from Afghan government officials that the 94 ISIS fighters were killed in the blast have been greeted with some skepticism, due to the fact that access to the blast site has been severely limited, with local officials and civilian reporters barred from entering.
The U.S. military has also refrained from putting out a casualty estimate, with everyone from Secretary of Defense James Mattis, to military spokesmen more or less saying: We’re not going to go in and dig out the bodies of dead ISIS militants.
To date, no claims of civilian casualties have emerged, but it’s hard to know the full scope of the MOAB strike with information on the bomb’s impact relatively restricted. That raises an intriguing question: If we went through the trouble to drop a MOAB — for the first time in combat — in order to make a statement and deter our enemies, why not provide evidence showing it actually, you know, killed the intended targets?
In his sanctions announcement, Trump accidentally named the wrong supreme leader of Iran, who has been dead since 1989
Exclusive: Video shows Navy SEAL flying drone over body of ISIS fighter shortly after Eddie Gallagher allegedly stabbed him
Shortly after Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher allegedly murdered a wounded ISIS prisoner, about half a dozen of his SEAL teammates watched as one SEAL flew a drone around their compound and hovered it just inches over the dead man's body.
It was yet another ethical lapse for the men of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon, many of whom had just taken a group photograph with the deceased victim after their commander had held an impromptu reenlistment ceremony for Gallagher near the body. Although some expressed remorse in courtroom testimony over their participation in the photo, video footage from later that morning showed a number of SEALs acted with little regard for the remains of Gallagher's alleged victim.
The video — which was shown to the jury and courtroom spectators last week in the trial of Gallagher — was recently obtained by Task & Purpose.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico has deployed almost 15,000 soldiers and National Guard in the north of the country to stem the flow of illegal immigration across the border into the United States, the head of the Mexican Army said on Monday.
Mexico has not traditionally used security forces to stop undocumented foreign citizens leaving the country for the United States, and photographs of militarized police catching Central American and Cuban women at the border in recent days have met with criticism.
Mexico is trying to curb a surge of migrants from third countries crossing its territory in order to reach the United States, under the threat of tariffs on its exports by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made tightening border security a priority.
Packages containing suspected heroin were found in the home of the driver charged with killing seven motorcyclists Friday in the North Country, authorities said Monday.
Massachusetts State Police said the packages were discovered when its Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section and New Hampshire State police arrested Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, at his West Springfield home. The packages will be tested for heroin, they said.
Zhukovskyy faces seven counts of negligent homicide in connection with the North Country crash on Friday evening that killed seven riders associated with Jarhead Motorcycle Club, a club for Marines and select Navy corpsmen.
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.