Recently, Afghan authorities, Saturday reported a jump in fatalities from the American military’s largest non-nuclear bomb, the MOAB, declaring some 92 Islamic State fighters dead, as US-led ground forces advanced on their mountain hideouts.
Dubbed the “Mother Of All Bombs”(MOAB), the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast was unleashed in combat for the first time on Thursday, hitting IS positions in a remote area of eastern Nangarhar province.
The unprecedented attack triggered global shock waves, with some condemning the use of Afghanistan as what they called a testing ground for the weapon, and against a militant group that is not considered a threat as big as the resurgent Taliban.
The bomb smashed IS’s hideouts, a tunnel-and-cave complex that had been mined against conventional ground attacks, engulfing the remote area in a huge mushroom cloud and towering flames.
“At least 92 Daesh (IS) fighters were killed in the bombing,” Achin district governor Esmail Shinwari told AFP on Saturday.
Shinwari said that American and Afghan ground forces were slowly advancing on the mountainous area blanketed with landmines, but there were still some pockets of resistance from insurgents.
“New fighters have probably come from the other side of the border to collect the dead bodies,” he added.
Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani gave a death toll of 90, far higher than the initial toll of 36 IS fighters given by Afghan officials.
Shinwari insisted there were “no military and civilian casualties at all”.
Security experts say IS had built their redoubts close to civilian homes, but the government said thousands of local families had already fled the area in recent months of fighting.