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18 April 2017, 02:36 | Clarence Schmidt
The moment giant US bomb hits
"This was the right weapon against the right target", Gen. John Nicholson, commander for United States forces in Afghanistan, told a press conference.
"Let me be clear - we will not relent in our mission to fight alongside our Afghan comrades to destroy [the Islamic State in Afghanistan] in 2017", he said.
Yesterday's attack with the "Mother of All Bombs" (MOAB) by U.S. forces against eastern Afghanistan's Nangarhar Province was done without approval from President Trump, Pentagon officials insist, saying that they believe they didn't need any such approval. USA forces took "all precautions necessary to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage", he said.
The Massive Ordnance Air Burst bomb, or MOAB, has attracted enormous attention.
He was using an Arabic term that refers to Islamic State, which has established a small stronghold in eastern Afghanistan and launched deadly attacks on the capital, Kabul. "The strike has destroyed an IS headquarters, three IS hideouts along with several bunkers and deep tunnels as well as huge amount of weapons and ammunition", the Afghanistan Defence Ministry statement said.
Afghan officials had earlier said the bombing had killed 36 IS fighters.
Afghan officials say it killed as many as 36 suspected Islamic State militants, although a news agency affiliated with Islamic State in the Middle East carried a statement denying that the group had suffered casualties in the attack.
"Using this massive bomb can not be justified and will leave a material and psychological impact on our people", the Taliban, who compete with Islamic State in Afghanistan, said in a statement. He added that there were no reports of civilian casualties. USA officials have said they believe the movement has only 700 fighters but Afghan officials estimate it has about 1,500.
Hardcore terrorists have been thriving in Pakistan with the tacit approval of the government and the military there and it would be prudent that the United States comes down hard on groups that could unleash terror in a more virulent form in coming years. It is the third major military action his administration has taken in recent months, following a military raid in Yemen that left civilians and a U.S. Marine dead, and last week's surprise strike on a Syrian airfield.
But former President Hamid Karzai accused the United States of using Afghanistan as "a testing ground for new and unsafe weapons".
Retired US Air Force General Dave Deptula, a former commander of the air operations centre for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001, said the GBU-43 was developed to replace the 6800kg "Daisy Cutter" bomb he employed there. "It was an ear-splitting blast", said Shah Wali, 46, who lives in the village of Goor Gari, 15km from the border with Nangarhar.
Dropping the munition in Afghanistan was "another successful job", said President Donald Trump.
As coalition forces have surely learned after 16 years in Afghanistan - fighting in the Spin Ghar mountains is always uphill.
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