On the 13th of April, the United States Military dropped one of its largest non-nuclear bombs for the first ever time in a real-world conflict, marking a major shift in the United States’ usual activities in the Middle East. Officially, the bomb is known as the Massive Ordnance Air Blast weapon, but let’s be honest, that’s not nearly as catchy, so it’s mostly known both inside the military and to the rest of us civilians as the Mother of All Bombs. It even fits the acronym!
The MOAB touched down in the Mamand Valley, located in Eastern Afghanistan, where the Islamic State had fortified themselves for months prior to the bombing. However, while the stronghold in the region was a target, the main purpose of deploying the Mother of All Bombs in that particular valley was to collapse a network of underground tunnel systems that the Islamic State had been using to smuggle soldiers, munitions, and other supplies long distances without having to fear being spotted by American bombers. The bomb succeeded in collapsing these tunnels, cutting off the IS fortress in the region from their primary method of moving resources to and from the base with relative impunity.
Coming on the heels of the 59 missiles launched into Syria in the past month, many people attribute this action to current US president Donald Trump. These bombings have shown to be very unpopular with both supporters and opponents of the president. Many supporters of Trump were excited about his campaign promises of not getting further involved in conflicts in the Middle East, and worry that his recent actions indicate that there is a very real possibility that Trump’s presidency will see a continuation of US involvement in the region. Opponents, however, dislike what they see as a very aggressive and unnecessary act that will only serve to escalate the situation in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
Despite the catchy names the Mother of All Bombs has, the MOAB was certainly not an end to the conflict even in Mamand Valley. Islamic State fighters continue to fight in the territory, with Afghan military officers claiming that there are many more smaller caves still active that the Islamic State can use. Even mere days after the MOAB was dropped on the region, American planes continue to circle overhead and drop ordinance, according to a recent report from the BBC’s Auliya Atrafi, who visited the region shortly after the Mother of All Bombs was dropped.
So, with just one bomb, Donald Trump managed to Alienate a portion of his supporters, further anger his opponents, and do very little to aid the situation even in the Valley it was dropped. If nothing else, that’s something you could truly call the Mother of All Blunders.