A huge bomb, equivalent to 11 tons of dynamite, has been used against ISIS in Afghanistan by the United States of America.
The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb – better known by its nickname, the “Mother Of All Bombs” – hit a tunnel complex in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, US Forces Afghanistan said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump called the mission “very, very successful.”
The huge bomb, delivered via an MC-130 transport plane, has a blast yield equivalent to 11 tons of TNT, and the weapon was originally designed as much to intimidate foes as to clear broad areas.
“The GBU-43/B is the largest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed in combat,” Air Force spokesman Colonel Pat Ryder said.
“The explosion was the biggest I have ever seen. Towering flames engulfed the area,” said Achin District Governor Esmail Shinwari.
“We don’t know anything about the casualties so far, but since it is an ISIS stronghold we think a lot of Islamic State fighters may have been killed,” Shinwari said.
US Navy Captain Bill Salvin, spokesman for US Forces Afghanistan, said that a bomb damage assessment was being carried out.
As to the possibility of civilian casualties from such a huge weapon, Salvin said: “Friendly forces scouted the area and noted the lack of civilian presence.
The target was chosen to ensure the maximum effect against (IS) while preventing civilian casualties.”
The strike hit a system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters had used to “move around freely, making it easier for them to target US military advisers and Afghan forces” nearby, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.
“We must deny them operational space, which we did,” Spicer added.
The Afghan government was aware of the US plan to bomb the ISIS tunnel complex, presidential spokesman Shah Hussain Murtazawi suggested.
“Heavy casualties have been inflicted on the enemy,” Murtazawi said on Facebook, ruling out the possibility of civilian casualties.
The Mother of All Bombs OAB was developed in 2003, around the time of the US-led invasion of Iraq.
The US military on Tuesday said an American special forces soldier had been killed while conducting operations against ISIS in Nangarhar.
Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, 37, died on 8 April in Nangarhar Province of injuries sustained when his unit came in contact with ISIS fighters.
De Alencar was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)