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.
“A mother gives life and this one gives death, and we call this device a mother. What is happening?”
The MOAB, a non-nuclear GPS-guided bomb, was first designed in 2002 and was reportedly first publicly tested in the days leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq in order to win a “psychological” war to deter Saddam Hussein.
It carries 8,000 kilograms of explosives, compared to the 250-kilogram average weight of most deployed conventional bombs.
US General John W Nicholson, NATO commander in Afghanistan, said the decision to deploy the bomb was purely tactical, based on his assessment of military needs and not broader political considerations.
“This was the first time that we encountered an extensive obstacle to our progress,” General Nicholson said of a joint Afghan-US operation that has been targeting IS fighters since March.
“It was the right time to use it tactically against the right target on the battlefield.”