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Security forces deny access to site of US blast in Afghanistan

Published Apr 19, 2017 06:31pm

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Security forces were still blocking access Wednesday to the site in eastern Afghanistan where the United States dropped a massive bomb on a stronghold of the militant Islamic State group six days ago.

The US military dropped its GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, dubbed the "Mother of All Bombs", in combat for the first time on April 13.

The target was caves and hideouts being used by the militant group in the Achin district of Nangarhar province.

The blast triggered shock waves, which residents said they felt miles away.

It was said by the Afghan defence ministry to have killed at least 95 militants, including some IS commanders and foreign fighters, but no civilians.

The statement could not be independently verified, with reporters including AFP correspondents turned away from the site again Wednesday even though there was no sign of fighting in the immediate area.

Ahmad Jan, a resident of Achin who fled IS fighting and moved with his family to the provincial capital Jalalabad long before the bomb was dropped, told AFP he had no idea whether his house or relatives survived the attack.

"No one can go there, they have completely blocked the area. I don't know if my house is destroyed. They have not even shown any dead bodies to anyone," he said.

A spokesman for Afghan special forces said landmines and "pockets of resistance" on top of mountains had slowed down operations in the area. He did not specify if the fighters were from the IS.

Police officials in Nangarhar could not immediately comment, and US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan would not comment Wednesday. They said this week they were still assessing the situation.

Some Afghans have condemned the use of their country as what they called a testing ground for the weapon, and against a militant group that is not considered as big a threat as the resurgent Taliban.

Analyst and retired general Atiqullah Amarkhail told AFP the US military needed time to analyse the impact and clean the debris.

"It was not an ordinary bomb. It carried a special kind of explosives, it was tested in a mountainous area for the first time, I believe a team of US experts are now working on the ground to assess the effects and impacts," he said.

IS, notorious for its reign of terror in Syria and Iraq, has made inroads into Afghanistan in recent years, attracting disaffected members of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban as well as Uzbek militants.

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.

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Comments (8) Closed



Harmony-1© Apr 19, 2017 06:51pm

Unfortunately, poor Afghanistan was used as a testing ground for this devastating bomb to send a signal to N Korean regime!

LL Apr 19, 2017 06:53pm

Afghanistan is a new test ground for mother of all the weapons. Good going president Ghani!!

RK Apr 19, 2017 07:16pm

There could be casualties in thousands and no survivor. Media should show satellite images of the site.

Zia ur Rehman Apr 19, 2017 07:38pm

If there are cracks in the buildings on Pakistani side, imagine the impact on the nearby villages in Afghanistan! Believe no one in this madness. (Single news source or agency or sources with vested interests) In this era we should try to learn from different sources and try to draw logical conclusions. Stretch your imagination

Khail007 Apr 19, 2017 08:03pm

IS and US Both are brutal killers and war criminals. IS killing in hundreds and US killing in thousands.

Ahmed khan ahmed Apr 19, 2017 08:29pm

Buck up Ashraf GhanI. Otherwise Afghanistan is a good testing ground. Thousands of innocents have been killed and Afghan government is sleeping. The Afghan govt is responsible for this babarism.

logic Apr 19, 2017 08:55pm

Memories of Pakistanis is very short. What you did in Afghanistan by helping the US push out Russia and then Al quida. You created one hell for afghans and people of Pakistan living near the border area with Afghanistan. These demons woun't fade away easily.

Javed Afghan Apr 19, 2017 08:56pm

As an Afghan I fully support this MOAB attack on ISIS (Daesh). We can not afford bombing our military hospital and bombing in our Capital killing innocents every month.

They should be eliminated at any cost no matter what.