PARACHINAR: The powerful non-nuclear bomb dubbed mother of all bombs (MOAB) which was dropped by the US on an area in Afghanistan on Thursday also left impact on this side of the border, damaging buildings in Kurram Agency, locals said.

Wide cracks appeared in several houses, a mosque and an Imambargah at Malana village in the foothills of Speen Ghar also known as White Mountain.

The snow-covered White Mountain serves as a natural barrier between the Afghan province of Nangarhar and the Kurram tribal region in Pakistan.

US officials claimed that MOAB targeted a base of the militant Islamic State group in Achin district which lies in the foothills of the White Mountain on the other side of the border.

According to latest reports, MOAB left at least 90 people dead and destroyed the IS infrastructure. Initially, the death toll was put at 36.

Residents at Malana village told Dawn they felt a tremor that shook their houses. “We felt light shocks, but did not realise it was because of a bomb,” said Muhammad Hassan, a resident of Malana.

He said that wide cracks had appeared in several houses and mosques in the area. It also caused slight damage to houses in the Zeran area. The US forces had carried out intense bombing in the Tora Bora area of the same Achin district after 9/11 attacks to dismantle what it claimed was a cave complex of Al Qaeda.

AFP adds: The unprecedented MOAB attack triggered global shockwaves, 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.

“At least 92 Daesh (IS) fighters were killed in the bombing,” Achin district governor Esmail Shinwari told AFP on Saturday, adding that three tunnels that sheltered the insurgents had been destroyed.

Mr Shinwari said that American and Afghan ground forces were slowly advancing on the mountainous area, which is blanketed with landmines, to clear the site, but there are still some pockets of resistance from insurgents.

“New fighters have probably come from the other side of the border (Pakistan) to collect the dead bodies,” he added.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2017

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