Monday, 29 May, 2017

Afghan death toll from 'mother of all bombs' rises to 94

Alfredo Watts | 19 April, 2017, 01:40

Reuters reports that former Afghan president Hamid Karzai accused his successor on Saturday of committing treason by allowing the USA military to drop the largest conventional bomb ever used in combat during an operation against Islamic State militants in Afghanistan.

Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani gave a death toll of 90, far higher than the initial toll of 36 dead ISIS fighters given by Afghan officials.

More than 1,900 IS militants, several Afghan security forces and two USA soldiers have been killed in Achin and neighboring districts since early 2015 when IS emerged there, according to Afghan military officials.

Late Thursday night, a GBU-43/B Massive Ordinance Air Blast bomb (MOAB), capable of destroying an area equivalent to nine city blocks, was dropped on a network of fortified underground tunnels ISIS had been using to stage attacks on government forces.

Afghan authorities yesterday reported a jump in fatalities from the United States military's largest non-nuclear bomb, declaring some 90 Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters dead, as US-led forces conducted cleanup operations over their mountain hideouts.

Nicholson said he was in constant communication with officials in Washington, but the decision to use the 21,600-pound (9,797-kg) GBU-43 bomb was based on his assessment of military needs and not broader political considerations. MOAB is the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal.

Nicholson said thorough surveillance was conducted in the area to ensure no civilian casualties.

The US military said the bomb was used purely on tactical grounds, "the right weapon against the right target". According to Afghan officials, the attack was able to decimate a deep tunnel of ISIS group.

An Afghan soldier patrols near the site of a USA bombing during an operation against Islamic State (IS) militants in the Achin district of Nangarhar province on April 15, 2017.

Sher Nabi, a commander with the Afghan Local Police, told the LA Times earlier this week that the bomb had landed about a half mile outside the town of Shogal near the border with Pakistan, and that "many militants" were killed.

In its second major display of military might in one week, the U.S. dropped its most powerful non-nuclear bomb on ISIS positions in a remote part of Afghanistan.

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday the bombing was "another successful job".

The Afghan presidential palace said precautions were taken to avoid civilian casualties. An American special forces soldier was killed last Saturday in Nangarhar.

"I thought my house was being bombed". The bomb was reportedly dropped as part of the US' ongoing anti-Isis operations in the Asian country.

The official also added that the use of the massive bomb had nothing to do with sending a message of the US' determination to any country, including North Korea.

The Afghan Taliban, which is trying to overthrow the US -backed government in Kabul, are fiercely opposed to Islamic State and the two group have clashed as they seek to expand territory and influence.

In just the last week, Trump has overseen the use of some of the most powerful weaponry in the U.S. arsenal.