Apr 14, 2017

Why the "Mother of all Bombs" was dropped on Afghanistan

Rahmat Gul / AP

The U.S. dropped the "Mother of all Bombs" (MOAB) on ISIS militants in Afghanistan on Thursday, but the White House has so far deferred all questions about the decision to do so.

What they're saying: "This was the right weapon for the right time," Gen. John W. Nicholson told reporters about the MOAB. He explained that ISIS militants in Afghanistan are using caves and tunnels, and our military's ground forces would not have been enough.

Between the lines: Although the White House hasn't said dropping the bomb was a form of retaliation, keep in mind there has been a series of ISIS attacks in the last few weeks that could have fueled the fire.

  • March 22 - Westminster Bridge Attack
  • April 7 - Truck attack in Stockholm, Sweden
  • April 8 - Special Forces Sgt. Mark De Alencar killed in Afghanistan during counter-ISIS operations.
  • April 9 - Palm Sunday attacks in Egypt

Why now? The attack comes at a time when the Pentagon has more autonomy to pursue military operations, granted by President Trump. He has yet to say if he signed off on the attack, but has praised the action as an example of the military's "total authorization" to act strategically with little political interference.

Go deeper

Making sense of the UN's climate conference coronavirus delay

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The scuttling of November's pivotal UN climate conference is the starkest sign yet of how coronavirus is throwing a wrench into efforts to combat global warming. But like the wider relationship between the coronavirus and climate initiatives, the ramifications are ... complicated.

Driving the news: UN officials announced Wednesday that the annual summit to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, is postponed until some unknown time next year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 952,171 — Total deaths: 48,320 — Total recoveries: 202,541Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 216,722 — Total deaths: 5,137 — Total recoveries: 8,672Map.
  3. Stimulus updates: Social Security recipients won't need to file a tax return to receive their checks.
  4. Jobs update: 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week, a staggering number that eclipses the record set on March 26.
  5. Health updates: The Trump administration won't reopen enrollment for ACA marketplaces this year.
  6. National updates: The Grand Canyon closed after a resident tested positive for coronavirus.
  7. World update: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu re-entered self-quarantine after his health minister tested positive for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

The weirdest NBA draft ever

Table: Axios Visuals

The 2020 NBA draft was already shaping up to be the weirdest draft in years, and now that the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the sports world, it could be the weirdest draft ever.

Why it matters: While most drafts have a clear hierarchy by the time April rolls around, this draft does not. There's no reliable No. 1 pick, almost every top-10 prospect has a glaring weakness and the global sports hiatus has shrouded the whole class in mystery.

Go deeperArrow48 mins ago - Sports