Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
U.S. | By Monique Johnson

No civilian casualties in USA massive bombing against IS in Afghanistan: commander

No civilian casualties in USA massive bombing against IS in Afghanistan: commander

In another dramatic show of military force after the bombing of a Syrian airfield with 59 Tomahawk missiles, the U.S. military yesterday dropped a GBU-43/B, colloquially known as the "Mother Of All Bombs" or MOAB, to target tunnels and bunkers built by Islamic State fighter in Nangarhar province.

In a press briefing on Friday, Gen John Nicholson, commander of USA forces in Afghanistan, said: "We have U.S. forces at the site and we see no evidence of civilian casualties nor have there been reports".

The number of Islamic State fighters killed by the massive USA bomb has almost tripled to at least 90, Afghan officials said on Saturday.

"This was the right weapon against the right target", Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, told a news conference Friday.

Trump said he authorised the use of the MOAB - Massive Ordnance Air Blast - and called the mission "very, very successful".

Achin is located in the foothills of the Spinghar mountain range that serves as a border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But Gen. Daulat Waziri, spokesman for the Afghanistan Ministry of Defense, said 36 IS fighters were killed, and that the death toll could likely rise.

Mr. Shinwari insisted there were "no military and civilian casualties at all".

"Precautions were taken to avoid civilian casualties", President Ashraf Ghani said on Twitter, throwing his support behind the bombardment.

Pakistani villagers living near the Afghan border said the explosion was so loud they thought a bomb ad been dropped in their village by USA warplanes targeting terrorists in Pakistan. He said he could see smoke in the sky.

Fellow Achin district resident Hakim Khan, 50, said, "I want a hundred times more bombings on this group".

"They killed our women, youths and elders, sitting them on mines", Hakim added.

However, former Afghan president Hamiz Karzai condemned the attack, saying that the United States was using their soil to test weapons.

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

The strike was created to minimize the risk to Afghan and US forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities.

President Donald Trump said this week he would be sending his new national security adviser, Lt. Gen. HR McMaster, to Afghanistan "to find out how we can make progress alongside our Afghan partners and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies".

The bombardment took place amid rising global tensions as the US military steps up raids against global jihadist groups.

"Daesh (ISIS) fighters are active in this area and have overrun our houses", said Achin resident Khair Mohammad, welcoming the bombardment. "ISIS-K, also known as the Khorasan group, is based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and is composed primarily of former members of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban".

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