Government: 36 Islamic State fighters killed by massive bomb

A colossal United States bomb dropped Thursday on ISIS tunnels in eastern Afghanistan killed 36 militants, according to the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

USA military officials told CNN a GBU-43/B Massive Ordinance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) was dropped on ISIS positions in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistan border.

The bomb, known officially as a GBU-43B, or massive ordnance air blast weapon, unleashes 11 tons of explosives.

The clue is in the ungainly name - the MOAB or GBU-43/B massive ordnance air blast is the U.S. military's most destructive conventional (that is non-nuclear) bomb.

The Pentagon on Thursday announced the use of the bomb, formally known as the GBU-43, or massive ordnance air blast (MOAB) bomb - the first time it has been utilized since its development in 2003.

Spicer also said all necessary precautions were taken to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage. The bombing killed at least 36 Islamic State terrorists and no civilians were affected by the explosion, said the Afghan officials.

"This was the first time that we encountered an extensive obstacle to our progress", General Nicholson said of a joint Afghan-US operation that has been targeting IS fighters since March.

US President Donald Trump called it "another successful job". "We also ask the Kabul government to use even stronger weapons against them", Hakim added.

Former President Barack Obama had planned to remove most United States troops from Afghanistan before leaving office, but pulled back from that plan because of Taliban gains and the inability of Afghan forces to fight on their own.

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The strike is part of a broader offensive, which Nicholson said is a sign of Afghanistan's commitment "to defeat Daesh in Afghanistan this year".

How powerful is the MOAB?

Meanwhile, the bomb can consume a large quantity of oxygen in the air when it explodes, thus suffocating personnel nearby to death, they say.

Achin is close to the Pakistani border, which has always been used by militants to smuggle weapons and fighters between the two countries.

It was dropped at 7pm local time in Afghanistan from an MC-130 aircraft operation by Air Force Special Operations Command, according to military sources.

"Let me be clear - we will not relent in our mission to fight alongside our Afghan comrades to destroy ISIS K in 2017", he said, referring to ISIS' regional branch.

The Afghan government was aware of the USA plan to bomb the IS tunnel complex, presidential spokesman Shah Hussain Murtazawi suggested.

"Last night's bomb was really huge, when it dropped, everywhere, it was shaking", said a resident, Palstar Khan, adding that he believed no civilians were in the area hit. "We have given them total authorization", the USA president said.

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