'Mother of all bombs' kills 90 ISIS militants in Afghanistan

US Army General in Afghanistan, John Nicholson said on Friday the decision to deploy one of the largest conventional bombs ever unleashed in combat was a purely tactical decision made as part of the campaign against Islamic State-linked fighters.

The aerial images show the moment when the so-called "mother of all bombs", which had never been used until this Thursday, hit the side of a mountain in the Achin district of Nangarhar province with a explosive power equivalent to 11 tons of TNT, Efe news reported.

After the strike, General John Nicholson, the most senior United States military commander in Afghanistan, said: "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 southern Nangarhar".

"It was the right time to use it tactically against the right target on the battlefield", General John Nicholson, commander for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said at a news conference.

Afghan and USA forces were at the scene of the strike and reported that the "weapon achieved its intended goal,", Nicholson said.

A Ministry of Defense official had said Friday that the number of dead could rise as officials assessed the bomb site in Achin district.

"This was the right weapon against the right target".

The US had targeted this area as it got intelligence about the Islamic State setting up a major module.

Current President Ashraf Ghani's office said on Friday that there was "close co-ordination" between the U.S. military and the Afghan government on the operation, and they were careful to prevent any civilian casualties.

"It was a strong position and four times we had operations (attacking the site) and it was not possible to advance", he said".

On Saturday, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai criticised both the Afghan and USA governments for the attack.

"This is not the war on terror, but the inhuman and most brutal misuse of our country as testing ground for new and risky weapons", he said on social media network Twitter. The Pentagon and Central US Command have not confirmed that Mr Trump was the one to give the order for the bomb.

Such aircraft can carry as much as 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of bombs, missiles, or other weapons on each mission.

District governor Ismail Shinwari said there was no civilian property near the strike location.

The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, had said the decision to use the bomb was purely tactical, and made as part of the campaign against IS-linked fighters.

The war in Afghanistan has largely slipped from public consciousness, replaced by the conflict in Syria and ongoing tensions over North Korea, but there are still around 8,400 United States troops in the country engaged in counterterrorism operations.

Last year, air strikes by worldwide forces caused at least 127 civilian deaths and 108 injuries, up from 103 deaths and 67 injuries in 2015, the United Nations said.

  • Leroy Wright