Afghanistan bomb: 'Like the heavens were falling'

Security experts say ISIL 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.

Afghanistan bomb: 'Like the heavens were falling'

World Bulletin / News Desk

The number of ISIL fighters killed by a massive US bomb in eastern Afghanistan has nearly tripled to at least 90, Afghan officials said Saturday.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb -- dubbed the "Mother Of All Bombs" -- was unleashed in combat for the first time, hitting IS positions in eastern Nangarhar province on Thursday.

The bomb smashed their mountain hideouts, a tunnel-and-cave complex that had been mined against conventional ground attacks, engulfing the remote area in towering flames.

"At least 92 ISIL fighters were killed in the bombing," Achin district governor Esmail Shinwari told AFP on Saturday. Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani gave a toll of 90.

Afghan officials had earlier said the bombing had killed 36 IS fighters.

Shinwari insisted there were "no military and civilian casualties at all". 

After fighting intensified over the past week and US-backed ground forces struggled to advance on the area. An American special forces soldier was killed last Saturday in Nangarhar while conducting anti-IS operations.

The massive bomb was dropped  in the mountains close to Moman village in an area called Asadkhel. About 1.5 miles away, in Shaddle Bazar is where Mohammad Shahzadah lives, the impact was palpable. 

One citizen, Shahzadah had closed the house gates and sat down for dinner. Then the blast came, engulfing the sky in flames and sending tremors through the ground.

“The earth felt like a boat in a storm,” Shahzadah said. “I thought my house was being bombed. Last year a drone strike targeted a house next to mine, but this time it felt like the heavens were falling. The children and women were very scared.”

President Ashraf Ghani threw his support behind the bombardment.

But some officials close to him condemned the use of Afghanistan as what they called a testing ground for the weapon, and against a militant group that controls only a tiny sliver of territory and is not considered a huge threat.

 ISIL has made inroads into Afghanistan in recent years, attracting disaffected members of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban as well as Uzbek rebels.

But the group has been steadily losing ground in the face of heavy pressure both from US air strikes and a ground offensive led by Afghan forces.

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Nisan 2017, 09:46
YORUM EKLE