Pope Francis said he was “ashamed” to hear the word “mother” used in association with the deadly bomb the U.S. military dropped on Afghanistan last month.
“I was ashamed when I heard the name of a bomb: ‘the mother of all bombs,'” he said to a gathering of students on Saturday. “A mother gives life, and this one gives death, and we call this device a ‘mother’? What is happening?”
The Air Force dropped the bomb, officially called the GBU — 43/B Massive Ordinance Air Blast Bomb, or MOAB. The acronym is often colloquially defined as meaning the “mother of all bombs.”
Weighing in at 21,600 pounds, the MOAB was the largest non-nuclear bomb used in a U.S. conflict. The bomb was dropped on Islamic State militants in Afghanistan on April 14, killing at least 94, according to The Hill. According to the Pentagon, it was dropped from a U.S. aircraft in the Nangarhar province, targeting a tunnel complex used by IS, the BBC reported.
The MOAB bomb is specifically engineered to damage underground facilities and tunnels and was reportedly developed for use during the Iraq War at a cost of $16 million.
A CENTCOM spokesman told The Hill they decided to use the MOAB for the first time because “it’s the type of weapon for the type of target.”
“This has been a very difficult area; they’re tunneled into the ground in hardened bunkers, and they’re actually leading a lot of attacks on U.S. and partner nation forces,” he said to The Hill. “When you have a very large beehive, a little fly swatter may not work, so finally you take out the big stuff. We just found a huge beehive, and we have to use something more than the fly swatter.”
The pope’s comments come ahead of his meeting later this month with President Donald Trump. The two are scheduled to meet May 24, and it will likely make for an awkward date. Preceding the pope’s criticism of the term “mother of all bombs,” the duo clashed on their opposing views on immigration, refugees and climate change.