Published: Sat, April 15, 2017
Culture | By Stewart Greene

USA military's "mother of all bombs" kills 36 ISIS fighters

@CENTCOM also tweeted that "last night's complex strike in Nangarhar is part of our campaign to destroy ISIS in Afghanistan in 2017".

The blast destroyed three underground tunnels as well as weapons and ammunition, but no civilians were hurt, Afghan and United States officials have said.

This bomb drop is said to have occurred in a remote mountainous area away from civilian homes.

The statement said it is the responsibility of Afghans, not the US, to remove the Islamic State group from the country.

The device, which has a destructive power equivalent to 11 tonnes of TNT, had never been used in combat since its first test in 2003.

Pakistani villagers living near the border said the explosion was so loud they thought a bomb had been dropped in their village. "When it dropped, everywhere, it was shaking", said resident Palstar Khan. The strike "targeted a system of tunnels and cave that ISIS fighters use to move around freely".

Other residents said they saw militants climbing up and down the mountain every day, making occasional visits to the village.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said at the time that "the goal is to have the capabilities of the coalition so clear and so obvious that there is an enormous disincentive for the Iraqi military to fight against the coalition".

On Friday, the village was swarming with Afghan and global troops, as helicopters and other aircraft flew overhead.

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.

The bombing in Afghanistan was the second major incident when the USA military in recent days have shown its combat prowess, after missile strikes on a Syrian airfield.

The unprecedented attack triggered global shock waves, 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 Taliban.

"This was the right weapon against the right target", he said.

The Taliban armed group, which is expected to soon announce the start of this year's fighting season, also denounced the bombing.

The so-called "Mother of All Bombs", may be the biggest conventional weapon in the USA arsenal, but it's not the biggest non-nuclear bomb in the world.

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".

The 11-ton "mother of all bombs" dropped by USA forces on ISIS-linked fighters in Afghanistan is a highly specialized weapon with a heritage dating back to huge bombs developed for use against Nazi targets in World War Two. The strike in Achin District was the first time that the bomb has been against an enemy combatant.

Afghanistan's ambassador to the US, Hamdullah Mohib, told CNN's Brooke Baldwin that the bomb was dropped after fighting had intensified over the last week between US Special Forces and Afghan troops against ISIS.

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