'Mother of all bombs' killed 94 ISIS fighters

Xavier Trudeau
Avril 25, 2017

An Islamic State activist from Kerala is believed to have been among the 36 ISIS militants killed when the USA dropped a massive GBU-43 bomb, also known as the "mother of all bombs", on the terror group's position in a cave network in eastern Afghanistan.

This image made from an April 13 video released by the U.S. Department of Defense shows a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb strike on an Islamic State militant cave and tunnel systems in the Achin district of the Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan.

Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said no civilians were harmed in the massive blast that targeted the network of caves and tunnels, which had been heavily mined.

The U.S. military strategically dropped a 21,600-pound GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb from a C-130 Hercules on what it called the "right target" in the eastern Afghanistan on Thursday night. AFP said that Afghan officials confirmed the death toll.

The strike was in a remote area of Nangarhar province near the Pakistan border where there had been fighting between Afghan forces and IS militants.

The bomb destroyed three underground tunnels, weapons and ammunition, but no civilians were hurt, CNN reported, citing the USA and Afghan officials.

A U.S. Special Forces member was killed in Achin over the weekend.

And later on Saturday, during an address delivered at an event in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, the former president of the country, criticized the Afghan government for allowing the US military to launch the bomb attack.

Afghanistan's president Ashraf Ghani has thrown his support behind the bombardment, emphasizing that "precautions were taken to avoid civilian casualties" - but other officials dissented.

He said a clearance operation was continuing.

USA and Afghan officials have said their goal is to "eliminate" the Islamic State from Afghanistan this year, but the Trump administration has not yet said if it plans to commit more troops to the fight.

The official said the use of the weapon had nothing to do with sending a message to any other country, including North Korea.

It was the first time the bomb, one of only 15 ever built, had been used in combat. Another person was wounded when a second bomb exploded in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand, he said.

In Kabul, Navy Capt. Bill Salvin, the spokesman for USA forces, said: "We are still conducting our assessment, and at this time have no evidence of civilian casualties as a result of the GBU-43 drop".

Former President Hamid Karzai accused the United States of using Afghanistan as "a testing ground for new and unsafe weapons".

The U.S. has more than 8,000 troops in Afghanistan, training local forces and conducting counterterrorism operations.

American officials said the bomb had been positioned for possible use in Afghanistan for "some time" since the administration of former president Barack Obama.

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