U.S. Turns to
'Bunker-Buster' Bombs

Associated Press October 10, 2001 

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon is adding 5,000-pound "bunker-buster" bombs to the mix of weapons aimed at shaking up the Taliban and laying ground for commando raids in Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday. 

A fourth day of aerial raids, including attacks on the outskirts of Kabul, the Afghan capital, moved the U.S.-led campaign closer to the expected start of ground operations against the al-Qaida terrorist network and the Taliban government. 
Publicly, the Pentagon offered no information about Wednesday's attacks, although officials speaking on condition of anonymity said "leadership targets," such as command-and-control facilities in underground bunkers near Kandahar were to be hit with 5,000-pound laser-guided bombs. Taliban's headquarters are in that southern Afghanistan city. 

An F-15E Strike Eagle pilot (right) and a weapon system officer assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, inspect a GBU-28 laser guided bomb. The GBU-28 is a 4000-pound bomb designed to penetrate hardened targets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jeffrey Allen)
The focus of the air campaign over Afghanistan is turning to more difficult targets, after opening salvos neutralized the Taliban's meager air defenses. Among priority targets now are deeply buried command-and-control facilities associated with Taliban leaders' compounds, including those near Kandahar, officials said. 

Air war planners selected the 5,000-pound "bunker-buster" bombs for use against those targets.

During the Gulf War, the Pentagon developed the GBU-28, whose inventory and performance characteristics are classified secret, for striking deeply buried targets. It was used on Feb. 27, 1991, against a bunker complex in Iraq; two years ago a version with an improved guidance system was put into production. 

The B-2 stealth bomber is capable of dropping the improved version of the bomb, known as the EGBU-28. B-2s have flown missions over Afghanistan and dropped 2,000-pound satellite-guided bombs known as the Joint Direct Attack Munition.