21600-Pound Non-Nuclear Bomb Unleashed On ISIS Targets, 90 Killed
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 16, 2017,
Apr 16, 2017, 0:07
The officials say Gen. John Nicholson has standing authority to use the largest non-nuclear bomb ever dropped in combat.
The bomb had been in Afghanistan since January.
Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said no civilians were harmed in the massive blast that targeted a network of caves and tunnels that had been heavily mined. USA forces in Afghanistan on Thursday struck an Islamic State tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan with "the mother of all bombs", the largest non-nuclear weapon every used in combat by the us military, Pentagon officials said.
Chief Executive of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah confirmed that the USA attack had been carried out in co-ordination with the government and that "great care had been taken to avoid civilian harm".
"This was the right weapon against the right target", Nicholson said.
But the massive blast still terrified villagers 20 miles away across the border in Pakistan.
Before the bombing, four civilians had been killed in the previous week, said authorities in Achin district, which includes Shodal. "We also ask the Kabul government to use even stronger weapons against them".
There was no immediate comment from the Islamic State group or other militants regarding the USA bomb attack.
The Site Intelligence Group, which tracks extremist organizations, reported Friday on a statement from the Afghan Taliban that condemned the US for its "terrorist" attack. The 11 died in a blast in Nawa district when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb.
The weapon, whose acronym inspired the nickname "Mother of All Bombs", was produced by the Air Force, not by a third party like Lockheed or Boeing, "so we don't have a standard procurement cost associated with them", an Air Force official said. America has concentrated on fighting them while also supporting Afghan forces against the Taliban. It was the first time that IS had officially spread outside the Arab world.
Such aircraft can carry as much as 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of bombs, missiles, or other weapons on each mission.
The Islamic State's regional affiliate is believed to have as many as 800 fighters in Afghanistan, many of them former members of the Pakistani Taliban.
The U.S. military has been conducting operations against ISIS in Afghanistan for the past year, specifically in southern Nangarhar since March, and has reduced the threat to a smaller area by roughly "two-thirds", Nicholson said.
Last year, air strikes by global forces caused at least 127 civilian deaths and 108 injuries, up from 103 deaths and 67 injuries in 2015, the United Nations said.