US 'Mother of All Bombs' Strike in Afghanistan Kills Over 80 Militants

MOAB blast in Afghanistan

MOAB blast in Afghanistan

The death toll from the American military's largest non-nuclear bomb almost tripled Saturday (April 15), with Afghan officials saying at least 90 Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters were killed, as US-led forces conducted clean-up operations over the rugged terrain.

Ninety-four Islamic State (IS) rebels also known as Daesh in its Arabic acronym have been killed in Thursday evening bombing of GBU-43/B by USA forces in the Achin district of eastern Nangarhar province, an official said on Saturday.

"Our team is in the area and they are doing clearance, so the figure might change as they find more bodies", said Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

An Islamic State (IS) activist from Kerala is believed to have been killed along with 36 IS militants when the USA unleashed a massive GBU-43 bomb, also known as the "mother of all bombs", on the terror group's position in a cave network in eastern Afghanistan.

The attack on a tunnel complex in remote eastern Afghanistan with the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the USA military left 36 Islamic State group fighters dead and no civilian casualties, Afghanistan officials said Friday. For its part, the Islamic State-linked Amaq News Agency denied that the bombing caused casualties among the militants, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors online postings from extremist groups and others.

The U.S. military is defending its use of the biggest conventional bomb ever deployed on the battlefield to take out a cave complex in an area where most of the ISIS fighters in Afghanistan were believed to be hiding.

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

"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".

Why was the area targeted?

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

However, former Afghan president Hamiz Karzai condemned the attack, saying that the U.S. was using their soil to test weapons.

The strike came as US President Donald Trump prepares to dispatch his first high-level delegation to Kabul, amid uncertainty about his plans for the almost 9000 American troops stationed in Afghanistan.

USA and Afghan officials have said their goal is to "eliminate" the Islamic State from Afghanistan this year, but the Trump administration has not yet said if it plans to commit more troops to the fight.

The Pentagon on Friday released video footage of the moment that the GBU-43 bomb, the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal, destroyed a complex of caves and tunnels of the Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan.

The local Afghan noted that he heard an "extremely loud boom that smashed the windows of our house".

"We were all scared, and my children and my wife were crying".

Pentagon officials told CBS News the strike had been in the works for months and that the bomb itself was moved into Afghanistan during the Obama administration. The explosion lit up the whole night sky, he said. "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. However, now the group has been dramatically degraded to no more than 800 fighters. The rocky landscape is dotted with caves and defensive tunnels, making it easy to hold and hard to attack, according to Nic Robertson, CNN's global diplomatic editor, who has reported from the Afghan mountains.

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