Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

No need for Trump's approval to use massive bomb

No need for Trump's approval to use massive bomb

"The Mother of All Bombs" hit a mountainside in Nangarhar Province, eastern Afghanistan.

As many as 36 suspected Islamic State militants were killed in the strike on Thursday evening in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghan defence officials said, adding there were no civilian casualties.

"At least 92 ISIS fighters were killed in the bombing", Achin district governor Esmail Shinwari said today.

"Dropping of the massive and the so-called mother of all bombs, celebrating the attack and using it as a propaganda tool show the growing barbarism of the American invaders", the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement on Friday.

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

United States military officials claim the bomb would feel like a nuclear blast to anyone in the area.

The strike was created to minimise the risk to Afghan and US forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximising the destruction of IS fighters and facilities, said the US Forces-Afghanistan, which is part of NATO-led Resolute Support. CNN said the MOAB bomb was selected because the area targeted was in an extremely remote portion of the country, meaning risk to civilians was minimal.

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Army Gen. John Nicholson ordered the use of a GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB) using his preexisting authorities, a Pentagon official said Thursday after the strike. Afghan media quoted locals as saying they saw flames at the bombed site.

The U.S. estimates 600-800 IS fighters are in Afghanistan, mostly in Nangarhar.

"The number of Daesh fighters killed in the USA bomb in Achin district jumped to 94, including four commanders", Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogiani told CNN, using an alternative name for ISIS. President Donald Trump called Thursday's operation a "very, very successful mission".

The office of President Ashraf Ghani said there was "close coordination" between the USA military and Afghan government over the operation in Achin.

The statement said it is the responsibility of Afghans, not the USA, to remove the Islamic State group from the country.

There has been mixed reaction to the news that United States forces used the biggest available bomb in its arsenal to attack what has been described as a network of tunnels used by Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan. The two militant movements are rivals of each other.

'This was the first time that we encountered an extensive obstacle to our progress, ' he said on Friday of a joint Afghan-US operation that has been targeting Islamic State since March. Nor is Daesh a political threat of the magnitude that Taliban, militarily and diplomatically nurtured by Pakistan, once was to Kabul and to USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military forces in Afghanistan, although ISIS is said to have grown.

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