Published: Mon, April 24, 2017
Life&Culture | By Kristin Armstrong

ISIS Fighters, 1 Commander Killed In 'Mother Of All Bombs' US Attack

ISIS Fighters, 1 Commander Killed In 'Mother Of All Bombs' US Attack

On Friday, American forces dropped one of the largest conventional bombs ever used in combat on what they described as a tunnel complex used by Islamic State militants in Nangarhar's Achin district.

But the USA military brought out the biggest conventional bomb in its arsenal for the first time to hit the Islamic State group, which has a far smaller, but growing presence in Afghanistan - an apparent reflection of President Donald Trump's vows for a more no-holds-barred campaign against the group.

Footage released by the U.S. shows the bomb's devastating power.

"Using this massive bomb can not be justified and will leave a material and psychological impact on our people", the Taliban, who compete with Islamic State in Afghanistan, said in a statement.

On Friday, the top USA commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, defended the strike, saying the decision to use the bomb was based on military needs, not political reasons.

The United States was accused of using Afghanistan as a testing ground for one of its most powerful weapons yesterday.

A general view of Achin district, in Jalalabad, after USA forces dropped Thursday the bomb, Afghanistan. CNN said the MOAB bomb was selected because the area targeted was in an extremely remote portion of the country, meaning risk to civilians was minimal.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington is "working with the government of Afghanistan and our partners in the region in order to deny any terrorist organization - that includes Al Qaeda as well - a safe haven or any kind of material support on the ground".

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"Everybody knows exactly what happened, so, and what I do is I authorize my military", he told reporters. An Air Force spokeswoman, Erika A. Yepsen, said the bomb was made "in-house", with some parts manufactured by the Air Force itself, so the overall cost is only an estimate.

Afghan officials had earlier said the bombing had killed 36 ISIS jihadists.

According to US officials, the number of ISIS fighters in eastern Afghanistan is estimated to be between 600 and 800 - a decrease from the estimated 3,000 operating in that area in late 2015.

Trump called the operation "another successful event" before declining to say whether he approved the massive weapon's use.

That sentiment was echoed by Gul Sher, another resident who called on the U.S. and the Afghan government to "hit Daesh and wipe them out completely". United States and Afghan forces had been unable to advance because ISIS - which has expanded into Afghanistan in recent years - had mined the area with explosives.

Speaking to IANS, a top intelligence officer in Kasargode said that around midnight April 13 officials received information that said Mohammed was killed in the US military assault.

The NATO alliance has 13,300 troops in Afghanistan, about half of them American, assisting a much larger Afghan force in a war against the Taliban and other militants.

The Air Force account, written in March 2008, said MOAB "started out simply as an idea" that became a request in late November 2002 as the administration of George W. Bush was contemplating invading Iraq to topple President Saddam Hussein.

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