World Media

Massive US bomb death toll rises to 94

The biggest non-nuclear bomb ever dropped in combat by the USA military killed 36 militants in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Friday, and villagers in the remote, mountainous area described being terrified by the "earsplitting blast".

General John Nicholson, the top USA military commander in Afghanistan, said Friday that his forces had coordinated the attack with the Afghan government, "just as we have since we started these operations in early March".

The massive bomb terrified villagers 20 miles away across the border in Pakistan with a blast they described as earsplitting.

Afghan officials said there were no civilians casualties.

Keane said the goal of using the MOAB was to specifically target tunnels in Afghanistan that were being used as safe haven sanctuaries by terrorists.

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His strong words could signal a broader political backlash that may endanger the USA military mission in Afghanistan. Pentagon video showed the bomb striking a mountainside overlooking a river valley with a giant blast that overwhelms the landscape and sent up a massive column of black smoke.

Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr. told reporters that the MOAB had targeted several caves that ISIS militants were using to evade coalition forces as well as an array of roadside bombs.

Thirty-six people linked to ISIS reportedly died in the strike, so far there's no word on any civilian casualties caused by the bomb's potentially 1-mile radius blast.

But the group has been steadily losing ground in the face of heavy pressure both from U.S. air strikes and a ground offensive led by Afghan forces.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the bombing "targeted a system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters used to move around freely, making it easier for them to target US military advisers and Afghan forces in the area".

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

The initial toll given by Afghan officials for Thursday's strike was 36. According to him, the bombing was necessary because some of the tunnels were as deep as 40 meters and extremely hard to penetrate.

The bomb smashed IS'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. He said Afghan forces were at the tunnel complex assessing the damage.

Mohammad Hakim, a resident of Achin district, was quoted by AP expressing his approval of the bombing. US officials have said they believe the movement has only 700 fighters but Afghan officials estimate it has about 1,500. He added, "They killed our women, youths, and elders sitting them on mines".

For its part, the Taliban quickly condemned what it called "America's heavy use of weapons on Afghanistan". The US has more than 8,000 US troops in Afghanistan, training local forces and conducting counter-terrorism operations.

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The U.S. Forces did not use the MOAB during the war.



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