An Afghan official says the number of militants killed in an attack by the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the US military has risen to 94.
This is the third major military action the Trump administration has taken since assuming office on January 20, following a military raid in Yemen that left civilians and a US Marine dead and last week's surprise strike on a Syrian airfield. "If you look at what's happened over the last eight weeks and compare that really to what's happened over the past eight years, you'll see there's a tremendous difference, tremendous difference". An Air Force spokeswoman, Erika A. Yepsen, said the bomb was made "in-house", with some parts manufactured by the Air Force itself, so the overall cost is only an estimate.
At least 94 militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group offshoot were killed during the ongoing military operations in East of Afghanistan.
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.
Other analysts suggest that the MOAB device was employed on the IS hideout because that target was a flawless opportunity to demonstrate overwhelming USA military might. "It is entrenched and away from civilians".
But Gen. Daulat Waziri, spokesman for the Afghanistan Ministry of Defense, said 36 IS fighters were killed, and that the death toll could likely rise.
The MOAB is believed to be the deadliest non-nuclear weapon designed.
But use of the bomb, which was developed in 2003, is a clear manifestation that new United States administration intends to rely heavily on use of its military might in Afghanistan, dealing a severe blow to prospects of peaceful resolution of the conflict, which is becoming complicated with the passage of time due to obstinate behaviour of the USA and Kabul Government.
Resident Qari Mehrajuddin first saw "lightning like a thunder storm" followed by the roar of an explosion, an all-too-familiar sound for residents in Afghanistan's war-torn Nangarhar province.
Bill Goodfellow, executive director of the Center for International Policy, argues that the fight against IS in Afghanistan should not come at the expense of ignoring the Taliban.
"Dropping of the massive and the so-called mother of all bombs, celebrating the attack and using it as a propaganda tool show the growing barbarism of the American invaders", the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement on Friday.
Islamic State "does complicate things" in Afghanistan, he added, because they represent another violent extremist group operating in the country, "and they seem to be rather hardened and many of them are foreigners". "That's where we should be focusing our attention". But the most worrying aspect of the development is that it reconfirms the general perception that the United States is persisting with its policy of using Afghanistan (and also Iraq) as guinea pig for testing of all sorts of weapons in its arsenal. The U.S. has more than 8,000 USA troops in Afghanistan, training local forces and conducting counterterrorism operations.