Villagers feared world was about to end with mother of all bombs

The US military said that the bomb, set off in the eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan on Thursday, was aimed to destroy a tunnel and cave complex used by ISIS militants in the region.

Friday, some news media asked why the US military settled on that particular bomb for the strike in Nangarhar province, just southeast of the Afghan capital.

Others in the area who opposed the use of the huge bomb said they were concerned that Afghanistan could become a weapons testing ground.

More than 90 ISIL fighters were killed by the USA military's largest non-nuclear bomb - a figure three times higher than the earliest assessments.

The bomb, known as a GBU-43B, has 11 tons of explosives. The bomb is guided by satellite to its target. The munition detonates before it hits the ground, sending a lethal shock wave more than 1½ miles, as well as creating a mushroom cloud that roils high into the sky. "He had been looking at this target for months and decided it was time to mix things up". It sent a shock wave into the ground - the equivalent of a small quake - to damage or destroy buildings, bridges and other structures. The incident marked the first use of the American military's largest non-nuclear bomb - the GBU-43/B - in any battle.

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday the bombing was "another successful job". That weapon was used in 1991 in the Gulf War against Iraq, later against Taliban and al-Qaida forces, and in Afghanistan for mine-clearing in 2001. Instead, troops load it into the cargo compartment of a specialized transport, the MC-130 Combat Talon, which releases it over the target by opening its ramp in the same way it might for paratroopers or air-dropped supplies. Its hard skin allowed it to go through more than 6 feet of concrete before it exploded.

Other analysts suggest that the MOAB device was employed on the IS hideout because that target was a flawless opportunity to demonstrate overwhelming us military might.

Although powerful, the size of that explosion pales in comparison to that of a nuclear bomb.

"This is not the war on terror but the inhuman and most brutal misuse of our country as a testing ground for new and risky weapons".

The Afghan defence ministry said in a statement that IS caves and ammunition caches were destroyed by the giant bomb, which terrified villagers on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with its "ear-splitting blast".

The strike was carried out against an Islamic State group tunnel complex carved in the mountains that Afghan forces have tried repeatedly in past weeks to assault in fierce fighting in recent weeks in Nangarhar province, Afghan officials said.

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

A statement on the IS-supporting Amaq news agency denied there were any IS casualties in the bomb strike.

The Pentagon's announcement of the attack drove markets down, with Asian bourses headed south following overnight losses on Wall Street.

  • Zachary Reyes