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US drops 'mother of all bombs' on IS-held caves in Afghanistan

Sky News logo Sky News 13/04/2017

The US military says it has dropped the "mother of all bombs" on a series of caves used by Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan.

Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said it was the first time this type of bomb had been used in combat and was dropped from a MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, very close to the border with Pakistan. 

File Pic: GBU-43 bomb. Pic: US Department of Defence © Sky News File Pic: GBU-43 bomb. Pic: US Department of Defence The GBU-43 bomb, weighing 21,600 lbs (9,797 kgs), is GPS-guided, contains 11 tonnes of explosives and is the US military's largest non-nuclear device. Its nickname, 'the mother of all bombs', is based on the name, given to it by the US Air Force, of 'Massive Ordnance Air Blast' bomb.

File pic: A GBU-43/B bomb seen in 2003 © Sky News File pic: A GBU-43/B bomb seen in 2003

Mr Stump said the bomb was dropped on a group of caves and bunkers, believed to be used by Islamic State in Afghanistan, known as 'ISIS-K'.

The weapon, which was first tested in March 2003, just days before the start of the Iraq War, was dropped at 7pm local time after its deployment was signed off by General John Nicholson, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan.

In a statement, General Nicholson said: "This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K." The military says it is still assessing the damage it has caused.

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