Dozens of IS militants killed by USA bomb - Afghan officials

The bomb, known officially as a GBU-43B, or massive ordnance air blast weapon, unleashes 11 tons of explosives.

USA special forces and Afghan commandos are now inspecting the site, Nicholson said, adding, "the weapon achieved its intended objective".

The MOAB was used in this instance because it is effective at targeting people who are hiding in tunnels or caves, according to experts.

Nicholson said the bomb was meant to eliminate the militants' sanctuary in southern Nangarhar, "and this weapon was very effective in that use".

The bomb was dropped in the Achin district of Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan.

Asked about this Thursday, President Donald Trump said: "I don't know if this sends a message" to North Korea, before appearing to dismiss the suggestion.

Former US state department spokesman PJ Crowley told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the use of the weapon was an indication of how Mr Trump had given "greater leeway to the military in terms of what it can do" in Afghanistan and Syria. He said there has been heavy fighting in the area in recent weeks between Afghan forces and IS militants.

USA and Afghan forces have been battling the Taliban insurgency for more than 15 years.

Rivera said the headline of the attack should be about the mission avoiding civilian harm.

Hakim Khan, 50, a resident of Achin district where the attack took place, welcomed the attack on the militants, saying: "I want 100 times more bombings on this group".

The group has established a small stronghold in eastern Afghanistan and launched deadly attacks on the capital, Kabul.

The Site Intelligence Group, which tracks extremist organizations, reported Friday on a statement from the Afghan Taliban condemning the US for its "terrorist" attack.

He praised the strike, saying killing Islamic State fighters was a "positive move".

U.S. army general John Nicholson, the commander of American forces in the country, said IS - also known as ISIS-K in Afghanistan - were using improvised bombs, bunkers and tunnels to "thicken their defence", so the massive bomb was a necessary response. The two militant movements are rivals.

  • Leroy Wright