At least 36 Islamic State (IS) militants were killed when the US military dropped a massive GBU-43 bomb, also known as the “mother of all bombs”, in eastern Afghanistan, Kabul’s Ministry of Defence announced on Friday.
Ministry spokesperson Muhammad Radmanish was quoted as saying by Efe News that a large amount of ammunition and weapons were also destroyed in the bombing.
The GBU-43, a non-nuclear, 10-tonne missile powered by a wave of air pressure, was dropped on Thursday onto the caves used by the terror group in Achin district, Nangarhar province, on approval of US President Donald Trump.
The US military’s largest non-nuclear bomb decimated a deep tunnel complex of the ISIS group, Afghan officials said Friday, ruling out any civilian casualties.
“As a result of the bombing, key Daesh (IS) hideouts and deep tunnel complex were destroyed and 36 IS fighters were killed,” the Afghanistan Defence Ministry said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump had earlier called the mission “very, very successful”.
The Afghan presidential palace said precautions were taken to avoid civilian casualties.
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.
Achin district governor Esmail Shinwari said the bomb landed in the Momand Dara area of Achin district.
Nangarhar, which borders Pakistan, is a hotbed of IS militancy. US forces have conducted a number of air strikes on jihadist bases in the area since August last year.
ISIS, notorious for its reign of terror in Syria and Iraq, has been making inroads into Afghanistan in recent years. It has attracted disaffected members of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban as well as Uzbek Islamists.
But the group has been steadily losing territory in the face of heavy pressure both from US air strikes and a ground offensive led by Afghan forces.