Nangarhar MOAB strike’s death toll reaches 92

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb is pictured in this undated handout photo. Elgin Air Force Base/Handout via REUTERS

JALALABAD: The death toll from the American military’s largest non-nuclear bomb (MOAB) nearly tripled Saturday, with Afghan officials saying at least 90 Daesh fighters were killed, as US-led forces conducted clean-up operations over the rugged terrain.
The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb – dubbed the “Mother Of All Bombs” – was unleashed in combat for the first time, hitting Daesh positions in eastern Nangarhar province on Thursday.
“At least 92 Daesh (IS) fighters were killed in the bombing,” Achin district governor Esmail Shinwari told a foreign news agency on Saturday. Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani gave a toll of 90.
Afghan officials had earlier said the bombing had killed 36 Daesh fighters.
The bomb smashed Daesh’s remote mountain hideouts, a tunnel-and-cave complex that had been mined against conventional ground attacks, engulfing the remote area in a huge mushroom cloud and towering flames.
Shinwari insisted there were “no military and civilian casualties at all.”
Security experts say Daesh 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 massive bomb was dropped after fighting intensified over the past week and US-backed ground forces struggled to advance on the area. An American special forces soldier was killed last Saturday in Nangarhar while conducting anti-Daesh operations.
President Ashraf Ghani threw his support behind the bombardment, saying it was “designed to support the efforts of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and US forces conducting clearance operations in the region.”– Agencies


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