USA defends 'Mother Of All Bombs' attack as 'tactical'

Ataullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor in Nangarhar, said on Saturday the number of Islamic State group dead was up from the 36 reported a day earlier.

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

The U.S. dropped a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb, otherwise known as the "Mother of All Bombs", on a Daesh stronghold in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province.

According to Reuters, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's office said in a statement that the strike was part of a joint operation between Afghan and global troops.

The US military said the bomb was used purely on tactical grounds, "the right weapon against the right target".

This was the moment U.S. forces dropped the MOAB - the "Mother of All Bombs" - on an Islamic State (IS) target in Afghanistan.

Isis has claimed that the so-called "mother of all bombs" dropped by U.S. forces on a mountain hideout in Afghanistan did not kill any 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. He called it a "strong position", with troops attacking it four times without advancing, adding that the complex "was full of mines".

The MOAB and the MOP owe their origins to massive "Tallboy" and "Grand Slam" bombs developed by the British in World War Two for use against Nazi targets such as V-1 and V-2 missile sites and the battleship Tirpitz.

"The enemy had created bunkers, tunnels and extensive mine fields, and this weapon was used to reduce those obstacles so that we could continue our offensive in Nangarhar", General John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said on Friday.

"The strike has destroyed an ISIS headquarters, three ISIS hideouts along with several bunkers and deep tunnels as well as huge amount of weapons and ammunition", the Afghanistan Defense Ministry statement said.

The United States, as part of its counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan, has been helping Afghan forces battle the local ISIS branch known as Islamic State-Khorasan Province since a year ago. "If big bombs were the solution we would be the most secure place on earth today", he said.

The GBU-43 is a GPS-guided munition that had never before been used in combat since its first test in 2003, when it produced a mushroom cloud visible from 20 miles away.

He said civilians suffered no casualties in the attack.

Trump called Thursday's operation a "very, very successful mission". AFP said that Afghan officials confirmed the death toll.

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai on Saturday criticized both the Afghan and USA governments for the attack in Nangarhar.

"We were unable to see each other at home because of the excessive dust inside the room", he said.

The Isis fighters in the area say they are affiliates of the larger Isis terror group, referring to themselves as IS Khorosan - which is the historical name for a region that includes parts of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

The United Nations has raised concerns that the American air campaign is swelling civilian casualties in Afghanistan.

  • Leroy Wright