United States military defends dropping 'mother of all bombs' on ISIS in Afghanistan

Government: 36 Islamic State fighters killed by massive bomb

"The enemy had created bunkers, tunnels and extensive mine fields, and this weapon was used to reduce those obstacles so that we could continue our offensive in Nangarhar", General John Nicholson, the top USA commander in Afghanistan, said on Friday.

The Afghan defence ministry said the bomb struck a village area in the Momand valley where IS fighters were using a 300m-long network of caves.

Pakistani villagers living near the frontier said the explosion was so loud they thought a bomb had been dropped in their village by US warplanes targeting militants in Pakistan. He added: "Let me be clear - we will not relent in our mission to destroy [IS in Afghanistan]. It was an earsplitting blast", said Shah Wali, 46, who lives in the village of Goor Gari, 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the border with Nangarhar.

Wali said dozens of other villagers also came out of homes and later he went near the border, where he met with other residents.

"We were unable to see each other at home because of the excessive dust inside the room", he said.

The US estimates there are 600 to 800 Isis fighters in Afghanistan, mostly in Nangarhar. The U.S. has concentrated on fighting them while also supporting Afghan forces against the Taliban.

"We have incredible leaders in the military, we have an incredible military and we're very proud of them, and this was another very, very successful mission", Trump said Thursday.

The huge bomb, delivered via an MC-130 transport plane, has a blast yield equivalent to 11 tons of TNT. Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani gave a toll of 90. The U.S. Forces took every precaution to prevent civilian casualties with the strike.

Associated Press writers Anwarullah Khan in Khar, Pakistan, Munir Ahmed in Islamabad, and Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.

Gen. John Nicholson, inquired about the main motives, clarified the new approach taken by the U.S armed forces to tackle the extremely hard chase of terrorists in remote mountainous areas of eastern Afghanistan.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren demands explanation after MOAB strike Warren reveals why she didn't run for president in 2016 Breaking up the big banks is not a job for the government MORE (D-Mass.) is challenging President Trump on his decision to drop the United States military's largest non-nuclear bomb during an operation in Afghanistan, questioning whether he has a strategy in the region.

The Afghan Taliban also strongly condemned the U.S. attack which is apparently used also as a warning to the insurgent group ahead of its annual spring offensive.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), nicknamed the "mother of all bombs" for its extraordinary force, was dropped at 7:32 p.m. local time Thursday, according to four USA military officials with direct knowledge of the mission.

The massive bomb was dropped after fighting intensified over the past week and USA -backed ground forces struggled to advance on the area.

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