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 USA military arsenal, was dropped from a C-130 military airlift aircraft, targeting Daesh terrorists' underground complex and tunnels in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province.
USA army general John Nicholson, the commander of American forces in the country, said IS were using bombs, bunkers and tunnels to "thicken their defence". In reality, the blast was around three miles away, its massive impact bigger than any before seen in the region. The villagers described the explosion as earsplitting. The United Nations has raised concerns that the American air campaign is swelling civilian casualties in Afghanistan.
Aerial video of the MOAB munition striking a tunnel complex used by ISIS in Afghanistan.
The US estimates 600-800 IS fighters are in Afghanistan, mostly in Nangarhar. The strike caused a giant explosion that destroyed the landscape and created a massive column of black smoke.
"This is the right weapon for the right target", said U.S. Gen. John W. Nicholson, NATO commander in Afghanistan, at a news conference. He added, "We have USA forces at the site, and we see no evidence of civilian casualties nor have there been reports".
The bombing came only a week after US President Donald Trump ordered missile strikes against Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack, and as China warned of the potential for conflict amid rising US tensions with North Korea. They say a big complex of ISIS has been destroyed by the dropping of the bomb from the U.S.! It said they were careful to prevent any civilian casualties.
He said the bombing was necessary because the complex was extremely hard to penetrate, with some tunnels as deep as 40 meters (43 yards).
Attack on Syria justified The US said it has "no doubt" Syria was behind the gas attack on the town of Sheikhoun that killed 87 people on April 4. Putin's military backing of Assad has been crucial in keeping the regime in power after six years of civil war.
IS fighters in the tunnels had "come from Pakistan and were persecuting people in the local area", he added.
"This was the first time that we encountered an extensive obstacle to our progress", he said of a joint Afghan-U.S. operation that has been targeting Islamic State since March.
Mohammad Hakim, a resident of Achin district, was quoted by AP expressing his approval of the bombing.
"We are very happy, and these kinds of bombs should be used in future as well, so Daesh is rooted out from here", he said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group. They say more than 100 ISIS members are killed. "It was the right time to use it tactically against the right target on the battlefield, and it has enabled us to resume our offensive operations". The US has more than 8,000 US troops in Afghanistan, training local forces and conducting counter-terrorism operations.
The top US commander in Afghanistan said recently that he needed several thousand more global troops in order to break a stalemate in the long war with Taliban insurgents.
When IS announced the establishment of its Khorasan branch - an old name for Afghanistan and surrounding areas - in January 2015, it was the first time the group had officially spread outside the Arab world.
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No civilian was injured in the raid which took place in Mohmand Dara village, Asadkhil area of the district, the statement added. The bomb was dropped after fighting intensified over the past week and US-backed ground forces struggled to advance on the area.
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