Experts in North Texas spoke to WFAA Thursday about the impact of the GBU-43B, the largest bomb U.S. forces have ever used in combat, dropped in Afghanistan.
Its nickname is the “Mother of All Bombs.” The Massive Ordnance Air Blast weapon sends enormous shockwaves.
It was used during military action for the first time Thursday when it was dropped from a U.S. cargo plane onto a system of tunnels being occupied by ISIS forces.
Bomb expert Jay Miller, who lives in Fort Worth, said the blast zone would be far and wide.
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“Any living thing, whether it be a human being or animal or any living thing, in probably three to five miles of MOAB could potentially have been severely maimed or almost certainly killed,” he said.
So the question is this: Were there civilian casualties where the bomb was dropped, near the Tora Bora mountains near the Afghan-Pakistan border?
“Depending on the proximity to the weapon blast, the level of fatality is going to go up significantly,” said Miller.
Roberto Romero is a meteorologist at WFAA’s sister station in Tyler. He retired from the Air Force after serving two tours of duty in that region and was stationed about 15 miles from where the bomb was dropped.
“Yes, there will be civilians in this area,” Romero said. “From my understanding, they targeted the tunnels in the mountains and caves and I believe the collateral damage to women and children is going to be minimal at best.”
Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan who ordered the use of the bomb, said the military “took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties.”
The Trump administration said they targeted tunnels used by ISIS, but Miller said this type of bomb does not penetrate the ground so its use is more psychological than functional.
“There is a tremendous psychological impact when a bomb this large goes off in a populated area of any kind,” said Miller.