ISIS death toll hits 90 from huge US bomb in Afghanistan

2017-04-15 19:17
An image made from a video shows a plume of smoke rising from the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb strike in Afghanistan. (US Department of Defence via AP)

An image made from a video shows a plume of smoke rising from the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb strike in Afghanistan. (US Department of Defence via AP)

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Jalalabad - Afghan authorities on Saturday reported a jump in fatalities from the American military's largest non-nuclear bomb, declaring some 90 Islamic State fighters dead, as US-led ground forces sought to advance on their mountain hideouts.

Dubbed the "Mother Of All Bombs", the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast was unleashed in combat for the first time on Thursday, hitting ISIS positions in a remote area of the eastern Nangarhar province.

Mountainous area

The unprecedented attack triggered global shock waves, with some condemning the use of Afghanistan as what they called a testing ground for the weapon and against a militant group that is not considered a threat as big as the resurgent Taliban.

The bomb smashed ISIS's hideouts, a tunnel-and-cave complex that had been mined against conventional ground attacks, engulfing the remote area in a huge mushroom cloud and towering flames.

"At least 92 Daesh (ISIS) fighters were killed in the bombing," said Achin district governor Esmail Shinwari, adding that three tunnels that sheltered the insurgents had been destroyed.

Shinwari said that American and Afghan ground forces were slowly advancing on the mountainous area, which is blanketed with landmines, to clear the site, but there were still some pockets of resistance from insurgents.

"New fighters have probably come from the other side of the border (Pakistan) to collect the dead bodies," he added.

Fighting intensified

Nangarhar provincial spokesperson Attaullah Khogyani gave a death toll of 90, far higher than the initial toll of 36 ISIS fighters given by Afghan officials. The dead included the brother of the late ISIS leader Hafiz Saeed, who was killed in a US air strike last year, officials said.

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

The massive bomb was dropped after fighting intensified over the past week and US-backed ground forces struggled to advance on the area. An American special forces soldier was killed in Nangarhar last Saturday while conducting anti-ISIS operations.

Read more on:    isis  |  us  |  afghanistan  |  military

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