The Russian state broadcaster Sputnik posted on July 24 a report headlined: “MOAB: US Attack Causes Catastrophic Consequences in Afghanistan.”
The article was referring to the events of April 13, when the U.S. dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on Islamic State targets in Achin district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.
Sputnik claimed “survivors” are suffering from “skin and eye diseases,” citing an anonymous “employee of the Health Care Corps of the Achin district” as saying these symptoms are “very likely indicative of radiation exposure that could have been caused by the presence of uranium inside the dropped bomb.”
A freelance reporter working for the Voice of America in Afghanistan, Zabihullah Ghazi, visited Achin district and interviewed local health officials and residents.
“We have not observed any increase in skin diseases in the past three months,” the head of the district clinic in Achin, Dr. Samim, told VOA.
According to Achin residents, some in the area suffer from chronic eye and skin diseases, but none of them is “new.”
A local man, Rahmat Khan, explained that his seven-year-old daughter “has been suffering from a skin infection” since she was five.
Residents and medical personnel in the area unanimously reject Sputnik’s claim as “lies,” Ghazi reported.
While the MOAB is popularly known by the nickname “Mother of All Bombs,” the abbreviation actually stands for “Massive Ordnance Air Blast,” describing the impact of the bomb, which creates a blast radius of 1.6 kilometers in each direction.
The MOAB – officially designated the GBU-43B/MOAB – is strictly a non-nuclear bomb, with a warhead that contains 18,700 pounds of BLU-120/B high explosive used for general-purpose bombs.
Rumors concerning any possible radioactive consequences of the use of the MOAB in Afghanistan seem to have originated from a Facebook post by the American reporter Amber Lyon back in April. It is apparently based on speculation that the U.S. might not have been transparent in revealing details about the bomb’s warhead, which allegedly contained “depleted uranium.”
Lyon’s claims, however, were fact-checked and refuted by independent analysts.
Afghanistan's former President Hamid Karzai vowed to unleash a campaign to force U.S. forces out of his country for dropping the so-called “mother of all bombs” on Afghan soil, calling it a “barbaric” act that was more aimed at testing “a new weapon of mass destruction” than targeting Islamic State fighters.
No civilian casualties had been reported after the blast. Officials say at least 92 IS militants killed.