The sky-tearing blast last week was unlike anything the villagers around the Acchin valleys in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar had ever heard. It set off panicked phone calls and fearful speculations until word spread that the explosion was not a new insurgency strike but an air attack by the United States. The onslaught employed one of the few bombs to have its own set of names — the GBU-43/B, otherwise known as the Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or the “Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB).
It was the first time the 21,000-pound bomb, which covers a 1,000-yard radius, has been used in combat. The strike, directed at a network of tunnels used by insurgents, drew global attention to the long-running conflict in Afghanistan. “It was the right weapon, for the right target,” General John W. Nicholson, commander of the US forces in Afghanistan, told a room of journalists in Kabul on Friday afternoon. But it wasn’t just Americans who were enthusiastic about the strike. Despite the worries sparked worldwide by the news, local Afghan leaders were cheering the MOAB.
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