ISIL death toll more than 90 from huge United States bomb in Afghanistan

Paterniano Del Favero
Aprile 20, 2017

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren demands explanation after MOAB strike Warren reveals why she didn't run for president in 2016 Breaking up the big banks is not a job for the government MORE (D-Mass.) is challenging President Trump on his decision to drop the United States military's largest non-nuclear bomb during an operation in Afghanistan, questioning whether he has a strategy in the region.

General Nicholson has had standing authority since before Mr Trump took office to use the largest non-nuclear bomb ever dropped in combat.

Afghans have since resumed offensive operations against ISIS, Waziri said.

"I vehemently and in strongest words condemn the dropping of the latest weapon, the largest non-nuclear bomb, on Afghanistan by United States military", he said.

The bombing - along with the first USA military strikes against the Syrian regime last week - mark a dramatic change in attitude for Trump, who advocated an isolationist, "America first" foreign policy during his election campaign.

Known technically as the GBU-43B, the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb or MOAB has turned the concept of war on terrorism upside down. Pentagon video showed the bomb striking a mountainside overlooking a river valley with a giant blast that overwhelms the landscape and sent up a massive column of black smoke. Agricultural terrasses are visible in the footage, but no population centers.

There were no civilian casualties, according to a Ministry of Defence statement, which also said that several Isis caves and ammunition caches were destroyed.

The initial toll given by Afghan officials for Thursday's strike was 36.

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.

General Waziri said the bombing was necessary because the complex was extremely hard to penetrate, with some tunnels as deep as 40 metres. He added that the road leading to the tunnel complex was "full of mines".

A USA official who monitored the attack said it was impossible to determine how many IS fighters might be buried in the underground complex. It said they were careful to prevent any civilian casualties.

He said he was in constant communication with officials in Washington, but the decision to use the 9,797-kilogram GBU-43 bomb was based on his assessment of military needs and not broader political considerations.

The bombing triggered shock waves in Afghanistan, with some condemning the use of Afghanistan as what they called a testing ground for the weapon, and against a militant group that is not considered a threat as big as the resurgent Taleban.

In Achin village, about 3 miles (5 km) from the remote, mountainous area where the bomb was dropped, witnesses said the ground shook, but homes and shops appeared unaffected.

Pakistani villagers living near the Afghan border said the explosion was so loud they thought a bomb had been dropped in their village by U.S. planes targeting terrorists in Pakistan. The villagers described the explosion as earsplitting.

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