Government: 36 Islamic State fighters killed by massive bomb

Government: 36 Islamic State fighters killed by massive bomb

The number of Islamic State fighters killed by a massive USA bomb in eastern Afghanistan has almost tripled to at least 90, Afghan officials said on Saturday.

The U.S. Department of Defense released video Friday showing the deployment of a 22,000-pound bomb known as the "mother of all bombs" against a complex of ISIS-controlled caves in eastern Afghanistan.

Earlier Friday, the Afghan Defense Ministry, based on initial findings, said that 36 IS militants were killed by the attack. An official Afghan government put the count at 36 ISIS fighter. That number is yet to be independently verified.

Nangarhar police said that the bombing destroyed Daesh hideouts, tunnels and weapon caches. It is regarded as particularly effective against clusters of targets on or just underneath the ground.

"This was the right weapon against the right target", Gen. John Nicholson, commander for United States forces in Afghanistan, said at a news conference. "It was the right time to use it tactically against the right target on the battlefield, and it has enabled us to resume our offensive operations". He also said that the operations were being conducted with care taken to prevent civilian casualties.

Thursday's strike came as US President Donald Trump dispatches his first high-level delegation to Kabul, amid uncertainty about his plans for the almost 9,000 American troops stationed in Afghanistan. But he raised questions over whether the bombing was going to help the larger strategy in Afghanistan, and said he wanted to learn if there were any.

The assault came only a week after Trump ordered missile strikes against Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack.

Another Achin resident, Mohammad Hakim, approved of the strike.

"The earth felt like a boat in a storm", one villager who lived near the blast told The Guardian.

"We were all scared, and my children and my wife were crying". Who knows what next week will bring, but here we are.

Other types of bombs can be more effective against deeper, hardened tunnels.

Before the strike, CBS New correspondent David Martin says there were an estimated 600 to 800 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan.

USA personnel in the country are engaged mostly in training local forces and carrying out counter-terrorism operations, according to the AP.

American and Afghan forces have been battling the Taliban insurgency for more than 15 years. He said that allowing the US military to launch such an attack in Nangarhar was an insult to Afghans.

Achin is located in the foothills of the Spinghar mountain range that serves as a border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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