'Mother of all bombs' kills at least 90 IS militants in Afghanistan

20 April, 2017, 14:00 | Author: Valerie Burke

At least 94 Islamic State fighters were killed when the U.S. military dropped America's most powerful non-nuclear bomb on ISIS targets in Afghanistan, an Afghan official said Saturday.

The airstrike, U.S. military explained, was created to minimise the casualty risk. "Unlike similar news received in February about the death of another youth from here, this time there are no pictures (to establish the death)", the officer said.

In addition, said an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the attack also reinforces the message that US President Donald Trump has given his military commanders freer rein than did his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Pakistani villagers living near the Afghan border said the explosion was so loud they thought a bomb ad been dropped in their village by US warplanes targeting terrorists in Pakistan.

Afghan defense officials said after the operation that 36 suspected terrorists were killed.

Afghanistan's Ambassador to the U.S. Hamdullah Mohib said the colossal Massive Ordinance Air Blast Bomb was dropped after fighting had intensified over the last week. "No civilian has been hurt and only the base which Daesh used to launch attacks in other parts of the province, was destroyed", defence ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri had reportedly said in a statement.

The bomb, weighing almost 10,000-kilogram, is guided by Global Positioning System and is the most powerful non-nuclear bomb that the United States possesses.

The Pentagon said the weapon was brought into Afghanistan just for this mission.

According to USA officials, most of the members of the local Islamic State branch are Pakistani and Uzbek militants.

For four weeks prior to the bombing, Afghan special forces tried to penetrate the area, but they were unsuccessful due to the hard terrain and a belt of improvised explosive devises planted by ISIS fighters, Gen. Dawlat Waziri, spokesman for Afghanistan's Defense Ministry said.

Shinwari's spokesman, Ataullah Khogyani, said that a clearance operation in the area was continuing.

The Site Intelligence Group, which tracks extremist organizations, reported Friday on a statement from the Afghan Taliban that condemned the US for its "terrorist" attack.

In a press briefing yesterday, Gen John Nicholson, commander of United States forces in Afghanistan, said: "We have USA forces at the site and we see no evidence of civilian casualties nor have there been reports".

"This is the right weapon against this target". "Precautions were taken to avoid civilian casualties with this airstrike". The Pentagon previously said there were hundreds of militant fighters in the area.

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