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RESPONSE TO TERROR | IN BRIEF / AFGHANISTAN

U.S. Unleashes Massive Bombs on Taliban

November 06, 2001|From Times Wire Reports

With its use of 15,000-pound "daisy cutter" bombs in Afghanistan, the United States has unleashed one of its most powerful weapons--billed as the world's largest conventional bomb.

The BLU-82 combines a watery mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum with air, then ignites the mist for an explosion that incinerates everything up to 600 yards away.

The BLU-82 uses about six times the amount of ammonium nitrate that Timothy McVeigh used in the bomb that blew up the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995.

It was created during the Vietnam War to clear jungle landing zones. Reports from the ground in Afghanistan indicate that the huge bombs have been used against front-line Taliban positions.

The bombs cost about $27,000 each. They are dropped from a C-130 cargo plane flying at least 6,000 feet off the ground, to avoid the bomb's massive shock wave. Each is about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, but far heavier.

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