Government: 36 Islamic State fighters killed by massive bomb
03:16, Apr 26, 2017
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The Afghan defence ministry said the bomb struck a village area in the Momand valley where IS fighters were using a 300m-long network of caves.
USA and Afghan forces have been battling the Taliban insurgency for more than 15 years. The Thursday deployment was the first time the bomb has ever been used in the field since its testing in 2013. The U.S. dropped the "mother of all bombs" on ISIS's headquarters in Afghanistan after repeated efforts to expel the militants failed.
The almost 30-second, black-and-white video shows a target aimed at a valley surrounded by mountainous terrain. Agricultural terraces are visible in the footage, but no population centers.
The blast destroyed three underground tunnels as well as weapons and ammunition, but no civilians were hurt, Afghan and United States officials said.
The exact death toll is unclear, with one Afghan official quoting the number as 92, and another claiming 90 people were killed.
Those in favor of the attack said the MOAB was the only way to dismantle the cave complex, landmines and tunnels. A statement released Friday through ISIS' media wing, Amaq News Agency, said none of the terror group's fighters were killed or injured.
Nangarhar police said that the bombing destroyed Daesh hideouts, tunnels and weapon caches.
Also Friday, Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., commander of USA forces in Afghanistan, defended the strike as "the right weapon against the right target", and said it "achieved its intended objective", which was to remove the tunnel complex as an obstacle to US and Afghan forces on the battlefield. "Nor have there been any reports of civilian casualties".
For its part, the Taliban quickly condemned what it called "America's heavy use of weapons on Afghanistan".
MOAB is the largest non-nuclear bomb in the USA arsenal.
He added: "Let me be clear - we will not relent in our mission to destroy [IS in Afghanistan]".
"The earth felt like a boat in a storm", one villager, who lives about 1.5 miles away from the blast, told the Guardian.
I jumped from my bed and came out of my home to see what has gone wrong in our village.
Mufti Khan, a resident of Achin in Nangarhar, said: "The house was shaking".
"They killed our women, youths and elders sitting them on mines". "We also ask the Kabul government to use even stronger weapons against them".
Before the strike, CBS New correspondent David Martin says there were an estimated 600 to 800 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan. The attack was launched on Thursday after Afghan forces had tried repeatedly to capture the tunnels in fierce and prolonged fighting with ISIS militants in the province.
The bombing came only a week after US President Donald Trump ordered missile strikes against Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack and China warned of the potential for conflict amid rising US tensions with North Korea.
The North's propaganda outlet Uriminzokkiri also took an aim at Washington's plot to strengthen sanctions against Pyongyang. The state's mouth-piece added the hermit kingdom was fully prepared for any attacks by the US.
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