News ID: 190819
Published: 0101 GMT April 14, 2017

US 'mother of all bombs' kills dozens in Afghanistan

US 'mother of all bombs' kills dozens in Afghanistan

As many as 36 suspected Daesh terrorists were killed in Afghanistan when the United States dropped "the mother of all bombs," one of the largest non-nuclear devices ever unleashed in combat, the Afghan Defense Ministry said on Friday.

Thursday's strike came as US President Donald Trump dispatches his first high-level delegation to Kabul, amid uncertainty about his plans for the nearly 9,000 American troops stationed in Afghanistan.

The deaths have not been independently verified, but ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said no civilians were harmed in the massive blast that targeted a network of caves and tunnels, Reuters reported.

"No civilian has been hurt and only the base, which Daesh used to launch attacks in other parts of the province, was destroyed," Waziri said in a statement.

Daesh has established a small stronghold in eastern Afghanistan and launched deadly attacks on the capital Kabul.

The 21,600-pound (9,797-kilogram) GBU-43 bomb, was dropped from an MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of the eastern province of Nangarhar bordering Pakistan, Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said on Thursday.

The device, also known as the "mother of all bombs," had never before been used in combat since its first test in 2003, when it produced a mushroom cloud visible from 32 kilometers away.

The bomb's destructive power, equivalent to 11 tons of TNT, pales in comparison with the relatively small atomic bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War Two, which had blasts equivalent to between 15,000 and 20,000 tons of TNT.

At a village about five kilometers from the remote, mountainous area where the bomb was dropped, witnesses said the ground shook, but homes and shops appeared unaffected.

"Last night's bomb was really huge, when it dropped, everywhere, it was shaking," said a resident, Palstar Khan, adding that he believed no civilians were in the area hit.

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai condemned the use of the weapon on Afghan soil.

"This is not the war on terror, but the inhuman and most brutal misuse of our country as testing ground for new and dangerous weapons," he said on social media network Twitter.

 

   
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