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

Nick Mcbride
April 15, 2017

But the US military brought out the biggest conventional bomb in its arsenal for the first time to hit the Islamic State group, which has a far smaller, but growing presence in Afghanistan - an apparent reflection of President Donald Trump's vows for a more no-holds-barred campaign against the group.

Mohammad Shahzadah, who lives over a mile away from the MOAB attack site, told The Guardian that, when the bomb dropped, "the earth felt like a boat in a storm".

"I have witnessed a countless number of explosions and bombings in the last 30 years of war in Afghanistan, but this one was more powerful than any other bomb as far as I remember", a resident living about 1.5 miles from the blast told CNN. "We targeted a system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters used to move around freely, making it easier for them to target USA military advisors and Afghan forces in the area", White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Thursday.

"Precautions were taken to avoid civilian casualties with this airstrike".

One man, who did not want to give his name for fear of ISIS retaliation, said there were no civilians left in the area the group controlled. "Assessment of the casualties to the ISIS-K is in process", the Afghan Presidential Palace said in a statement.

The U.S. government's top watchdog on Afghanistan said earlier this year that the Afghan government controls less than 60 percent of the country.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), nicknamed the "mother of all bombs" for its extraordinary force, was dropped at 7:32 p.m. local time Thursday, according to four USA military officials with direct knowledge of the mission.

But reports say fighting has intensified in recent days.

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On Thursday, President Donald Trump called it a "very successful mission" and said he's "very proud of our military".

What about civilians in the area?

The office of President Ashraf Ghani said there was "close coordination" between the USA military and Afghan government over the operation in Achin.

Mr Kugelman noted that "such signalling to other countries can be unsafe as it could well cause them to up the ante and stage their own provocative acts, like more missile tests in the case of North Korea". The U.S. has more than 8,000 United States troops in Afghanistan, training local forces and conducting counterterrorism operations.

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, however, denounced the use of the weapon.

Military officials said they hoped the MOAB would create such a huge blast that it would rattle Iraqi troops and pressure them into surrendering or not even fighting.

"We have the greatest military in the world, and they've done a great job as usual", he said. "It was the right time to use it tactically against the right target on the battlefield".

Other reports by VgToday

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