Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Massive US bomb death toll rises to 94


"The Mother of All Bombs" hit a mountainside in Nangarhar Province, eastern Afghanistan.

The huge bomb, delivered via an MC-130 transport plane, has a blast yield equivalent to 11 tonnes of TNT, and the weapon was originally designed as much to intimidate foes as to clear broad areas.

Afghanistan officials say the attack on the tunnel complezx left 36 Islamic State group fighters dead.

"Using "mother of all bombs" in Afghanistan to kill 36 militants - at $450,000 each - will not change its reputation as a white elephant", a Guardian op-ed argued.

This was the moment U.S. forces dropped the MOAB - the "Mother of All Bombs" - on an Islamic State (IS) target in Afghanistan.

The bombing targeted various Islamic State positions and infrastructure, Pentagon officials said.

Addressing a press conference in Kabul yesterday, he said the weapon used, the GBU-43, was created to destroy caves and tunnels and that this had been the "right weapons against the right target".

U.S. military officials claim the bomb would feel like a nuclear blast to anyone in the area.

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But former President Hamid Karzai accused the United States of using Afghanistan as "a testing ground for new and unsafe weapons". The U.S. maintains over 8,000 troops in Afghanistan, training local forces and conducting counterterrorism operations.

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he approved of the strike, and it was created to support Afghan and U.S. forces conducting clearance operations in the region. Multiple Afghan officials previously said they had no information about the bombing before it happened. "It was an ear-splitting blast", said Shah Wali, 46, who lives in the village of Goor Gari, 15km from the border with Nangarhar.

"The number of Daesh fighters killed in the USA bomb in Achin district jumped to 94, including four commanders", Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogiani told CNN, using an alternative name for ISIS.

The U.S. estimates 600 to 800 IS fighters are present in Afghanistan, mostly in Nangarhar. No civilians were affected by the explosion, the ministry said.

The attack triggered global shock waves, with some condemning the use of Afghanistan as what they called a testing ground for the weapon, and against a militant group that is not considered as big a threat as the resurgent Taliban.

Lawrence Korb, a former assistant secretary of defense in Washington and now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, agrees that the bomb was a message for Islamic State, but he also notes that the bunker and tunnel complex the US forces were targeting required the use of the huge bomb, which detonates above the surface and creates a shock wave that destroys everything and kills anyone in its path over a wide area.

The statement said it is the responsibility of Afghans, not the USA, to remove the Islamic State group from the country.

The United States, as part of its counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan, has been helping Afghan forces battle the local ISIS branch known as Islamic State-Khorasan Province since a year ago.

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