Massive US Bomb Death Toll Rises to 94

Ataullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor in Nangarhar, said the number of Islamic State group dead was up from the 36 reported a day earlier.

The blast, from the weapon dubbed the "mother of all bombs", destroyed three underground tunnels as well as weapons and ammunition, but no civilians were hurt, said an Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman.

The 21,000-pound (9,525 kg) bomb was dropped on a tunnel complex in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border.

Nine years ago the Air Force published an account of how it came to manufacture the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, known technically as the GBU-43B, a designation that reflects the fact that it is precision-guided.

Pentagon officials had described it as the "mother of all bombs".

The massive bomb was dropped after fighting intensified over the past week and US-backed ground forces struggled to advance on the area. "Assessment of the casualties to the ISIS-K is in process", the Afghan Presidential Palace said in a statement.

"It was the right time to use it tactically against the right target on the battlefield", Nicholson insisted.

The US military said the bomb was used purely on tactical grounds, "the right weapon against the right target".

"Afghan and foreign troops closely coordinated this operation and were extra cautious to avoid any civilian casualties", it said.

The dead included several leaders of the Islamic State affiliate, which is loosely connected to the main militant organization based in Iraq and Syria, Afghan officials said.

In a statement on Friday, President Ashraf Ghani said the US had taken the Afghan government into confidence before dropping the bomb on Thursday.

He added: "Still, from a strategic standpoint, there is an unsettling takeaway here: The US pulled off a huge shock-and-awe mission against an enemy that isn't even the top threat to the US in Afghanistan".

Multiple Afghan officials previously said they had no information about the bombing before it happened. A U.S. Marine was killed in that province last week amid ongoing counter-terrorism activities. "This bomb wasn't only a violation of our sovereignty and a disrespect to our soil and environment, but will have bad effects for years".

Speaking to IANS, a top intelligence officer in Kasargode said that around midnight April 13 officials received information that said Mohammed was killed in the USA military assault.

The war in Afghanistan has largely slipped from public consciousness, replaced by the conflict in Syria and ongoing tensions over North Korea, but there are still around 8,400 United States troops in the country engaged in counterterrorism operations. I will say this: "I think China has really been working very hard", he said. If you look at that terrain, if U.S. Forces would've had to have climbed up those steep hills, that high altitude, and had to have dug those ISIS fighters out of those caves, it would've been a great danger.

  • Annette Adams