Afghanistan: Death toll from MOAB attack revised to 92

Cheryl Sanders
April 16, 2017

An Afghan official says the number of militants killed in an attack by the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the US military has risen to 94.

Achin district governor Esmail Shinwari also said the number of ISIL militants killed was more than 90.

It was the first time the United States military had unleashed the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, its largest non-nuclear bomb, in combat.

The U.S. has concentrated on fighting them while also supporting Afghan forces against the Taliban.

Known as the "mother of all bombs", or MOAB, the device was dropped on Thursday evening by an MC-130 transport plane, falling in Nangarhar's Achin district. US forces in Afghanistan on Thursday struck an Islamic State tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan with the largest non-nuclear weapon every used in combat by the USA military, Pentagon officials said.

Current President Ashraf Ghani's office said Friday there was "close co-ordination" between the US military and the Afghan government on the operation, and they were careful to prevent any civilian casualties.

US President Donald Trump has described the bombing of Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan as a "very successful mission".

On Friday, U.S. Army Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr. called it "the right weapon against the right target".

The bomb smashed their mountain hideouts, a tunnel-and-cave complex that had been mined against conventional ground attacks, engulfing the remote area in towering flames.

"It was a strong position and four times we had operations (attacking the site) and it was not possible to advance", he said, adding that the road leading to the complex "was full of mines".

The Afghan authorities have revised the death toll from Thursday's Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) attack by the USA on IS hideouts to 92 on Saturday.

USA military officials estimate there are about 600 to 800 Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan, mostly in Nangarhar, but also in the neighbouring province of Kunar.

Both the Afghan and U.S. forces based in Afghanistan are conducting regular operations to suppress the insurgency led by ISIS militants and other insurgent groups including Taliban.

One man, who did not want to give his name for fear of ISIS retaliation, said there were no civilians left in the area the group controlled.

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai on Saturday criticized both the Afghan and USA governments for the attack in Nangarhar.

When he was asked about the timing of the unprecedented strike, and whether it had been influenced by the White House, Nicholson said, "In regard to timing, it's when we encountered this target on the battlefield".

Other reports by iNewsToday