Massive US bomb death toll rises to 94

Elizabeth Williams
April 15, 2017

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told reporters after the USA military dropped a massive bomb on terrorist tunnels in Afghanistan that President Donald Trump must "explain himself".

Gen. Daulat Waziri, the spokesman for the Afghanistan Ministry of Defense, said Afghan forces were assessing the damage at the tunnel complex.

There had been heavy fighting in the area in recent weeks between Afghan forces and IS militants.

The 21,600lb (9,797kg) GBU-43 bomb, which was dropped from an MC-130 aircraft, has the explosive power of 11 tons of TNT.

The Pentagon released a video of the strike showing that the mother of all bombs hit a mountainside overlooking river valley. CNN said the MOAB bomb was selected because the area targeted was in an extremely remote portion of the country, meaning risk to civilians was minimal.

"Afghan and foreign troops closely coordinated this operation and were extra cautious to avoid any civilian casualties", the office of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's office said in a statement after the strike. A U.S. Marine was killed in that province last week amid ongoing counter-terrorism activities.

"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".

"This was the right weapon for the right target", said U.S. Gen. John W. Nicholson, NATO commander in Afghanistan, at a news conference.

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Pakistani villagers living near the frontier said the explosion was so loud they thought a bomb had been dropped in their village by USA warplanes targeting militants in Pakistan.

One resident living around 2 kilometers (1.5 miles) from the blast told CNN he heard an "extremely loud boom that smashed the windows of our house". "It was an earsplitting blast", said Shah Wali, 46, who lives nine miles from the border. "I jumped from my bed and came out of my home to see what has gone wrong in our village".

Trump hailed the mission in Achin district as "very, very successful".

"At least 92 Daesh (IS) fighters were killed in the bombing", Achin district governor Esmail Shinwari told AFP on Saturday.

FOAB is also quite a different kind of bomb.

The US believes there are between 600 and 800 IS fighters in Afghanistan, mostly in Nangarhar.

President Ashraf Ghani threw his support behind the bombardment, saying it was "designed to support the efforts of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and USA forces conducting clearance operations in the region". We are also joined by Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, who is just back from Afghanistan, and Wazhmah Osman, professor of media and communication at Temple University and member of the Afghan American Artists and Writers Association.

Other reports by VgToday

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