Afghan officials on Saturday said that the toll from the United States military strike in the country’s Nangarhar province had tripled. As American forces carry out combing operations in Achin district’s mountainous terrain, they said they had found that at least 90 Islamic State fighters were killed in Thursday’s bombing, AFP reported.
At least 92 Daesh [Islamic State] fighters were killed in the bombing,” Governor of Achin Esmail Shinwari told AFP on Saturday, maintaining that there were “no military and civilian casualties at all”. A spokesperson for the Nangarhar provincial government Attaullah Khogyani said 90 militants were killed. The toll earlier stood at 36.
The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb – also known as the “Mother of All Bombs” – was used in combat for the first time in Thursday’s strike. The 11-tonnes bomb – the largest non-nuclear weapon in the US military’s arsenal – was tested in 2003.
The US military had said they had targeted the Islamic State group’s hideouts in tunnels and caves near the Afghan border with Pakistan. Some 600 to 800 fighters of the extremist outfit are believed to be operating from the region. The MOAB used in the strike has the ability to particularly target tunnels and caves.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani had said the operation was “designed to support the efforts of the Afghan National Security Forces and the US forces”. US President Donald Trump had called the mission “proof of his powerful foreign policy”.