MOAB Deash death toll continues to rise

 
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MOAB Deash death toll continues to rise

Unless you've been living in a cave (pun intended) you've seen how we dropped a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (which the media has apparently collectively agreed MUST be referred to as the "Mother Of All Bombs") on a tunnel complex in north east Afghanistan.  Some of the reports say there was a crater a mile wide, but that's not the intent of the weapon, and I rather doubt that accurately reflects what happened.  The MOAB actually incinerates the air, pretty much burning anything in a wide radius, and creates a lethal pressure wave; it's not exactly the explosion that kills as much as it is the ensuing fireball.

Anyway, History Channel has an interesting video explaining the weapon:

Military Tech has a longer video:

So that's how the weapon works theoretically, the actual use isn't much different or any less impressive:

And the NYT did a fairly good job of highlighting what exactly the strike was intended to do:

So, there's the down and dirty, as for the effectiveness, it seems to be getting more effective as more bomb assessment damage is done, something that usually turns out to be less effective.  This time, instead of the casualties decreasing, it is increasing, and thankfully civilian casualties remain at zero.  Here's one of the first reports:

Gen. Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry, said initial information indicated that 36 militants had been killed and three large caves destroyed in the bombing in Nangarhar Province. However, Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor’s office, said 82 militants had been killed.

Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said on Friday at a news conference in Kabul, the capital, that the Islamic State was using caves, tunnels and “an extensive belt of improvised explosive devices,” or roadside bombs, to resist Afghan and coalition operations.

Even since that report (3 days ago) it's gone up:

The number of militants killed in an attack by the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the U.S. military has risen to 94, an Afghan official said Saturday.

Ataullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor in Nangarhar, said the number of Islamic State group dead was up from the 36 reported a day earlier. A Ministry of Defense official had said Friday the number of dead could rise as officials assessed the bomb site in Achin district.

"Fortunately there is no report of civilians being killed in the attack," Khogyani said. 

There's also this report from something called "Dawn" (I've never heard of it) that seemed to lament structural damage across the border in Pakistan:

PARACHINAR: The powerful non-nuclear bomb dubbed mother of all bombs (MOAB) which was dropped by the US on an area in Afghanistan on Thursday also left impact on this side of the border, damaging buildings in Kurram Agency, locals said.

Wide cracks appeared in several houses, a mosque and an Imambargah at Malana village in the foothills of Speen Ghar also known as White Mountain.

But even the Dawn report notes the success, while tempering that with caution with regard to final estimates:

“At least 92 Daesh (IS) fighters were killed in the bombing,” Achin district governor Esmail Shinwari told AFP on Saturday, adding that three tunnels that sheltered the insurgents had been destroyed.

Mr Shinwari said that American and Afghan ground forces were slowly advancing on the mountainous area, which is blanketed with landmines, to clear the site, but there are still some pockets of resistance from insurgents.

“New fighters have probably come from the other side of the border (Pakistan) to collect the dead bodies,” he added.

There has been some WILDLY innaccurate reporting (mostly from people who have no idea what they are talking about) regarding the cost of the weapon (ranging from $16 million to $150,000) and how it works, but can we all agree that 92 dead Daesh in Afghanistan is a good start on eliminating the 800 estimated ISIS in theater?  Especially when it included some commanders.  And if it draws people from anywhere, that's probably good for us to have them consolidated.  The question now is how many will leave ISIS knowing that a new weapon is being used.

For those questioning the timing, it was because of the death of one of our operators:

The soldier killed fighting the Islamic State offshoot in Afghanistan over the weekend was identified Monday by the Pentagon.

Army Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, 37, was mortally wounded by small arms fire during an operation Saturday in the eastern province of Nangahar, the Pentagon said in a news release....

RIP Brother:

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, 37, of Edgewood, Maryland, died April 8 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire during combat operations.

De Alencar was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

 And more bad news for ISIS from a guy I know:

 

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Want to hear an interesting fact: Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
Turns out the MOAB was made in Eglin AFB. As they say, Pay Back is a Mother.

The message that ISIS and all the other terrorists should get from this is simple: where ever you gather, in your stronghold, to plan death and destruction we will find you, and when we do you will be dealt with harshly and without remorse. There is nothing you can do that will keep us from destroying you no matter how well protected you think you are. You have our attention, and that is not a good thing to have.

Sleep well, if you can.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.