'Mother of all bombs' killed 94 ISIS fighters, Afghan officials say

Apr 16, 2017, 02:03

President Donald Trump has hailed the USA military's "very, very successful" strike on an Islamic State tunnel complex in Afghanistan with the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat which killed 36 militants and destroyed their mountain hideouts near the Pakistan border.

The Associated Press reports that Ataullah Khogyani, a spokesperson for the governor of Afghanistan's remote Nangarhar province, said in a statement released on Saturday that the number of ISIS militants who died in the "Mother Of All Bombs" attack launched on Thursday had risen from 36 reported on Friday to "at least 94".

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb - dubbed the "Mother Of All Bombs" - was unleashed in combat for the first time, hitting IS positions in eastern Nangarhar province on Thursday. For its part, the Islamic State-linked Amaq News Agency denied that the bombing caused casualties among the militants, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors online postings from extremist groups and others.

US military leaders say the bomb was dropped to destroy an extensive labyrinth of tunnels the terrorists use.

The bomb destroyed three underground tunnels, weapons and ammunition, but no civilians were hurt, CNN reported, citing USA and Afghan officials. It hasn't said how much it cost to develop the bomb or how many of them exist.

The region where the strike took place, the restive Achin district, has for almost two years been the site of fierce fighting between the local Islamic State affiliate, known as Khorasan Province, and U.S and Afghan forces.

Nicholson said USA and Afghan forces were on the ground after the strike and had not seen any evidence of civilian casualties. Afghan officials also said there were no civilians casualties in the bombing, which was coordinated with them.

U.S. President Donald Trump April 13 called the bombing "another successful job".

Fleury Calm in Surprise Start for Penguins
The Columbus Blue Jackets are headed home facing a 2-0 deficit in their best-of-seven series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Blue Jackets are averaging three goals per game and are scoring on 19.9 percent of their power play opportunities.

"This weapon was used against Isis-K and their sanctuary inside Afghanistan", NATO forces commander General John Nicholson said., according to the AP.

The US estimates 600-800 IS fighters are in Afghanistan, mostly in Nangarhar.

Meanwhile, the Afghan Taliban issued a statement condemning the use of the weapon and said there was no presence of IS in Afghanistan. "We thought it had happened right in front of our house", he said.

"All victims of the attack were innocent civilians including women and children", he said.

Pentagon officials told CBS News the strike had been in the works for months and that the bomb itself was moved into Afghanistan during the Obama administration.

The massive bomb was dropped after fighting intensified over the past week and US-backed ground forces struggled to advance on the area.

Locals told CNN that more than 3,000 families had fled the district in the past year or so since the militant group established its presence.