On Thursday, the United States made international headlines by dropping one the most powerful non-nuclear bomb it's ever used on an alleged ISIS hideout in Afghanistan ― a GBU-43/B, or MOAB, which officially stands for Massive Ordinance Air Blast and unofficially, "mother of all bombs." The news was predictably headline-grabbing, as the United States had never before deployed a MOAB on the battlefield. And now, there seems to be footage of the moment it detonated: Here's how the MOAB explosion in Afghanistan looked, courtesy of Fox News.
It's not a terribly clear image, as it was captured via some manner of grayscale imaging, but it is indeed the first recorded evidence of the MOAB's detonation. According to the Guardian, the Afghan defense ministry announced that the huge blast killed "up to 36 suspected ISIS militants."
As such, while it's not in any sense a viscerally graphic video, be forewarned ― this is indeed footage in which dozens of people are killed. There haven't been any reports yet of any potential civilian casualties, to be clear, or innocent people slain in the strike, although dropping a massive bomb on people described as suspects by its very nature leaves open the possibility of wrongful killing.
The MOAB's deployment comes amid a week of marked military escalation for the Trump administration, some of it with heavy impact, and some of it seemingly for show. While the missile strikes against Syria's Shayrat air field ultimately didn't seem to accomplish any serious strategic goal, and hasn't seemed to usher in any noticeable new policy on Syria from the Trump administration, the MOAB strike is definitely serious news ― when you kill a reported 36 people, and do so with all the symbolism of using the largest non-nuclear ordinance the U.S. has at its disposal, it sends shockwaves.
It also came amid rising tensions between the United States and North Korea ― forever a hostile and fraught relationship, but one that seems to be deteriorating and intensifying in military fervor since President Trump took office in January. North Korea has nuclear weapons, however, long considered a deterrent for any U.S. military action, especially as it could put the South Korean capital of Seoul and its residents in mortal danger.
In any case, the footage embedded above provides a glimpse, however unclear, of the biggest non-nuclear bomb the United States has ever dropped. It's not the only one they have, however ― 20 of them have reportedly been produced since being designed back in 2002.