Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
USA | By Angel Wallace

Government: 36 Islamic State fighters killed by massive bomb

Government: 36 Islamic State fighters killed by massive bomb

The target was close to the Pakistani border. It was the first major militant group to directly challenge the Afghan Taliban's dominance over the local insurgency.

During a press conference in Kabul on Friday, U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces - Afghanistan, said the caves and tunnels targeted by the MOAB bomb were being used by ISIS as a "sanctuary inside Afghanistan" to move around the battlefield and shield themselves from Afghan and U.S. forces. The top USA commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, said it was an operational decision to support a joint U.S. It is also known as a Moab (Massive Ordinance Air Blast) which has earned it the nickname Mother of All Bombs. The black and white footage shows the explosive dropping and then detonating, encompassing a massive radius, according to ABC News.

ISIL's Amaq News Agency said no fighters were killed.

Earlier Friday, the Afghan Defense Ministry, based on initial findings, said that 36 IS militants were killed by the attack.

He said the bombing was necessary because the tunnel complex was extremely hard to penetrate, with some as deep as 40m.

Afghans have since resumed offensive operations against ISIS, Waziri said.

Pakistani villagers living near the Afghan border said the explosion was so loud they thought a bomb had been dropped in their village by USA planes targeting terrorists in Pakistan.

Other residents said they saw militants climbing up and down the mountain every day, making occasional visits to the village. He said he could see smoke in the sky. The whole house was shaking. "When I came out of my house, I saw a large fire and the whole area was burning".

US forces and Afghan commandos are seen in Asad Khil village near the site of a USA bombing in the Achin district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, April 17, 2017.

"They killed our women, youths and elders, sitting them on mines", Hakim added.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington is "working with the government of Afghanistan and our partners in the region in order to deny any terrorist organization - that includes Al Qaeda as well - a safe haven or any kind of material support on the ground".

A number of Kabul residents however saw this as a positive step, saying they believe after this U.S Forces will step up efforts to fight insurgents.

It came a week after US 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 US tensions with North Korea.

"In my whole life I have never heard such (a) huge boom", Malik Mohammad, a tribal elder in Achin district told dpa Saturday.

Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for the Nangarhar government, said an intense clean-up operation has begun in Achin following this attack. "Assessment of the casualties to the ISIS-K is in process", the Afghan Presidential Palace said in a statement. No civilians were affected by the explosion, the ministry said. It said they were careful to prevent any civilian casualties. The rocky landscape is dotted with caves and defensive tunnels, making it easy to hold and hard to attack, according to Nic Robertson, CNN's global diplomatic editor, who has reported from the Afghan mountains.

Daesh is the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

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