Pope Francis on Saturday criticised the naming of the US military's biggest non-nuclear explosive as the 'Mother of All Bombs', saying the word "mother" should not be used in reference to a deadly weapon.
The US Air Force dropped a bomb, officially designated as the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), on suspected Islamic State fighters in eastern Afghanistan last month. The nickname was widely used in briefings and reporting on the attack.
"I was ashamed when I heard the name," Pope Francis told an audience of students on Saturday. "A mother gives life and this one gives death, and we call this device a mother. What is happening?"
Pope Francis is set to meet US President Donald Trump on 24 May in a potentially awkward encounter given their opposing positions on immigration, refugees and climate change.
Trump had touted the bombing as evidence of a more muscular US foreign policy since he took office in January after eight years of President Barack Obama.
Trump described the bombing as a "very successful mission". It was not immediately clear how much damage the device did.
The security situation remains precarious in Afghanistan, with a number of militant groups trying to claim territory more than 15 years after the US invasion which toppled the Taliban government.
Published Date: May 08, 2017 09:19 am | Updated Date: May 08, 2017 09:25 am