Published: Wed, April 19, 2017
U.S. | By Vera Richards

21600-Pound Non-Nuclear Bomb Unleashed On ISIS Targets, 90 Killed

21600-Pound Non-Nuclear Bomb Unleashed On ISIS Targets, 90 Killed

At least 94 Islamic State fighters were killed when the USA military dropped America's most powerful non-nuclear bomb on ISIS targets in Afghanistan, an Afghan official said Saturday.

Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said the toll stood at 90.

Known technically as the GBU-43B, the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb or MOAB has turned the concept of war on terrorism upside down.

Thursday's strike was not the first time Islamic State fighters have been targeted by heavy American bombardment in Nangarhar, where a USA special forces soldier was killed battling militants a week ago.

Nicknamed "Mother of all bombs", MOAB, containing 11 tons of explosives, was dropped from an MC-130 aircraft operated by Air Force Special Operations Command. MOAB is the largest non-nuclear bomb in the United States arsenal.

Military officials said then they hoped such a huge blast would rattle Iraqi troops and pressure them into surrendering or not even fighting.

"This is the right weapon against this target".

The US commander in Afghanistan said on Friday that the decision to use one of the biggest conventional bombs ever used in combat was purely tactical.

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An elderly man who lives close to the bombing site in Achin's Momand Dara area said the blast was so piercingly loud that his infant granddaughter was experiencing hearing loss.

About 36 suspected militants were killed, according to Afghan officials, but IS has denied suffering any casualties. A MOAB is a 21,600 pound, Global Positioning System (GPS)-guided munition that is US's most powerful non-nuclear bomb.

Since then, the number of ISIS fighters has dropped to between 600 and 700 from up to 3,000, according to USA officials.

Achin resident Mohammad Hakim, voiced his approval for the strike, saying: "We are very happy and these kinds of bombs should be used in future as well, so Daesh [Islamic State] is rooted out from here".

In addition, said an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the attack also reinforces the message that US President Donald Trump has given his military commanders freer rein than did his predecessor, Barack Obama.

The bomb was dropped as Washington faces increased scrutiny over its military actions in the Middle East, including three US-led airstrikes in the past month that reportedly have killed civilians or allies.

Last year, B-52 bombers operating out of Qatar flew at least two missions in Afghanistan for the first time since 2006.

The bombing came only a week after USA president Donald Trump ordered missile strikes against Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack, and as China warned of the potential for conflict amid rising United States tensions with North Korea. I will say this: "I think China has really been working very hard", he said.

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