MOAB strike: 90 IS fighters killed in Afghanistan


The death toll from the American military's 11-ton and largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat almost tripled Saturday, with Afghan officials saying at least 90 ISIS jihadists were killed, as US-led forces conducted clean-up operations over the rugged terrain.

But Nangarhar Province spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said 90 IS fighters had died, while Achin district governor Esmail Shinwari said "at least 92 Daesh (another name for IS) fighters were killed in the bombing".

The increased death toll in Nangarhar was announced as officials in southern Helmand province reported that at least 11 civilians were killed and one wounded in two roadside bomb blasts overnight.

"The strike has destroyed an ISIS headquarters, three ISIS hideouts along with several bunkers and deep tunnels as well as huge amount of weapons and ammunition", the Afghanistan Defense Ministry statement said.

Nicholson was capable of deploying the weapon under longstanding authorities for ordering offensive strikes against al Qaeda and affiliated terrorists, the source said.

Sarhadi also noted that while there are no official reports on civilian casualties yet, an official has said that they're still possible.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commander in Afghanistan, US General John W Nicholson, said "it was the right time to use it tactically against the right target on the battlefield".

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he approved of the strike, and it was created to support Afghan and USA forces conducting clearance operations in the region.

President Donald Trump praised the USA military for carrying out what he called a "very, very successful mission". It is indeed a reflection of the fear that war tired ISIS fighters are seeking sanctuaries and attack bases in Afghanistan with United States and Russian forces playing active roles in Syria and Iraq. "We thought it had happened right in front of our house", he said.

A network of tunnels and caves was destroyed on Thursday evening local time, U.S. officials said. Addressing a gathering in capital Kabul, Karzai said that allowing the carry out the bombing was "treason" and an insult to Afghanistan.

The Afghan government said it had worked with the USA military to coordinate the bomb strike, a sharp escalation of the US fight against Islamic State in Afghanistan. The U.S. has concentrated heavily on combatting them while also supporting Afghan forces battling the Taliban.

Spicer said the USA "takes the fight against Isis very seriously" and insisted the military took "all precautions necessary to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage as a result of the operation".

The GBU-43, a non-nuclear, 10-tonne missile powered by a wave of air pressure, was dropped on Thursday onto caves used by the terror group in Achin district.

The most recent operation began in March and continued until troops hit Islamic State fighters entrenched in booby-trapped tunnels in a remote mountain region, leading commanders to call for the use of the GBU-43 bomb.