The attack on a tunnel complex in remote eastern Afghanistan with the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the U.S. military left 36 Islamic State group fighters dead and no civilian casualties, Afghanistan officials said Friday.
The Ministry of Defense said in a statement that several Islamic State caves and ammunition caches were destroyed by the giant bomb.
The U.S. military headquarters in Kabul said the bomb was dropped Thursday at about 7:30 p.m. local time, striking a tunnel complex in Nangarhar province where the Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State group has been operating. The target was close to the Pakistani border.
“I want a hundred times more bombings on this group,” said Hakim Khan, 50, a resident of Achin district, the site of the blast.
Pakistani villagers living near the Afghan border said the explosion was so loud they thought a bomb had been dropped in their village by U.S. warplanes targeting terrorists in Pakistan.
“I was sleeping when we heard a loud explosion. It was an earsplitting blast,” said Shah Wali, 46, who lives in the village of Goor Gari, 9 miles from the border with Nangarhar.
The U.S. estimates that 600 to 800 Islamic State fighters are present in Afghanistan, mostly in Nangarhar. The U.S. has concentrated heavily on battling them while also supporting Afghan forces battling the Taliban. President Trump called Thursday’s operation a “very, very successful mission.”
The bomb, known officially as a GBU-43B, or massive ordnance air blast (MOAB) weapon, unleashes 11 tons of explosives. Its nickname, based on the acronym, is the “mother of all bombs.”
Inamullah Meyakhil, spokesman for the central hospital in eastern Nangarhar province, said the facility had received no dead or wounded from the attack.
District Gov. Ismail Shinwari said there is no civilian property near the airstrike location.
There was no immediate comment from Islamic State or other militants regarding the U.S. bomb attack.