Published: Mon, April 17, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Massive US bomb death toll rises to 94


"The number of Daesh fighters killed in the USA bomb in Achin district jumped to 94, including four commanders", he said.

"The enemy had created bunkers, tunnels and extensive mine fields, and this weapon was used to reduce those obstacles so that we could continue our offensive in southern Nangarhar", said Gen John Nicholson, the most senior United States military commander in Afghanistan.

An initial assessment said 36 militants had been killed.

Currently, there have been no reported civilian deaths resulting from the bombing.

The Trump administration's policy towards Afghanistan remains under consideration but the use of this weapon sends a powerful signal that IS is top of the administration's target list wherever its offshoots may be found. "It was an earsplitting blast", said Shah Wali, 46, who lives in the village of Goor Gari, 15 kilometres (9 miles) from the border with Nangarhar. He later went near the border, where he met with other residents.

"The whole house was shaking", said Mufti Khan of Achin district in Nangarhar.

Another Achin resident, Mohammad Hakim, approved of the strike. USA officials have said they believe the movement has only 700 fighters but Afghan officials estimate it has about 1,500.

Mr Shinwary had earlier confirmed to the BBC that Afghan special forces, with the help of American air support, had begun anti-IS operations in the area two weeks ago.

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A network of tunnels and caves was destroyed on Thursday evening local time, USA officials said. They say more than 100 ISIS members are killed.

USA military estimates there to be between 600-800 Islamic State fighters now in Afghanistan.

"If you want to destroy and eliminate Daesh, then even if you destroy my home we won't complain, because they are not human beings, they are savages", said Mir Alam Shinwari, using an Arabic term for Islamic State. The strike came as U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to dispatch his first high-level delegation to Kabul, amid uncertainty about his plans for the almost 9,000 American troops stationed in Afghanistan.

Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogiani told CNN about the latest report.

Security experts say IS had built their redoubts close to civilian homes, but the government said thousands of local families had already fled the area in recent months of fighting.

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

It was the first time for the US military to use the MOAB, its most powerful non-nuclear weapon, which was developed for only nine weeks in 2003 for the Operation Iraqi Freedom and to put pressure on Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to stop fighting against the coalition. In the past year, they have largely concentrated on thwarting a surge of attacks by the Taliban, who have captured key districts, such as Helmand province, which USA and British troops had fought bitterly to return to the government.

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