Massive US bomb death toll rises to 94
- Author: Megan Austin Apr 17, 2017,
Apr 17, 2017, 5:01
He was using an Arabic term that refers to Islamic State, which has established a small stronghold in eastern Afghanistan and launched deadly attacks on the capital, Kabul.
On Thursday, the 22,000-pound GBU-43, or MOAB bomb, nicknamed the "Mother of All Bombs", which is the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. military arsenal, was dropped from a C-130 military airlift aircraft, targeting Daesh terrorists' underground complex and tunnels in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province. According to him, the bombing was necessary because some of the tunnels were as deep as 40 meters and extremely hard to penetrate.
USA and Afghan forces have been battling the Taliban insurgency for more than 15 years. "It was an earsplitting blast", said Shah Wali, 46, who lives in the village of Goor Gari, 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the border with Nangarhar.
Dozens of other villagers also came out of their homes, Wali said.
"This is a very specialized weapon, we don't have very many of them, you can only use them in a very narrow set of circumstances", said Mark Cancian, a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.
Afghanistan's former President Hamid Karzai has slammed the government in Kabul over a recent United States bombardment of suspected Daesh terrorists, saying allowing the USA military to use its largest conventional bomb in the country was tantamount to treason.
In the footage, the bomb can be seen streaking down from the sky and onto the valley of a mountain. "When I came out of my house I saw a large fire and the whole area was burning".
Mohammad Hakim, a resident of Achin district, was quoted by AP expressing his approval of the bombing.
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Achin district governor Ismail Shinwary told the BBC that Afghan special forces, with the help of American air support, had begun anti-IS operations in the area 13 days ago. US officials have said they believe the movement has only 700 fighters but Afghan officials estimate it has about 1,500.
American officials said the bomb had been positioned for possible use in Afghanistan for "some time" since the administration of former president Barack Obama.
Trump has also considered changing the way the USA targets terrorists in drone strikes.
Inamullah Meyakhil, spokesman for the central hospital in eastern Nangarhar province, said no dead or wounded had been brought to the facility from the attack.
Some local elders said most of the civilians in that area had already fled due to the presence of IS as well as extended fighting between IS and government forces.
The security situation remains precarious in Afghanistan, with a number of militant groups trying to claim territory more than 15 years after the US invasion which toppled the Taliban government.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blast. The two militant movements are rivals of each other.
The U.S. has more than 8,000 troops in Afghanistan, training local forces and conducting counterterrorism operations.