US military drops ‘mother of all bombs on IS’ in Afghanistan

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The US military says it has dropped a 21,600lb (9,800kg) bomb on a tunnel complex used by Islamic State militants in Afghanistan.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), known as “the mother of all bombs” is the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used by the US in a conflict.

The Pentagon said it was dropped from a US aircraft in Nangarhar province.

The news came hours after the Pentagon admitted an air strike in Syria mistakenly killed 18 rebels.

It said a partnered force had mistakenly identified the target location as an IS position, but the strike on 11 April had killed rebels from the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is backed by Washington.

How powerful is ‘mother of all bombs’?

The strike in Afghanistan follows last week’s death of a US special forces soldier fighting IS in Nangarhar.

The GBU-43/B bomb was dropped in Achin district on Thursday evening local time, the Pentagon said. It is more than 9m (30 feet) in length.

Suspected Islamic State (IS) and Taliban militants are brought before media during a press conference in Jalalabad on December 6, 2016.
image captionIS fighters have moved from Arab countries into Afghanistan

It was first tested in 2003, but had not been deployed in combat before.

“We targeted a system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters use to move around freely, making it easier for them to target US military advisers and Afghan forces in the area,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, using another name for IS.

He said necessary precautions were taken to prevent civilian casualties and “collateral damage”.

Achin district governor Esmail Shinwari told the BBC there were no civilian casualties because no civilians lived in the area.

Earlier Mr Shinwari told the AFP news agency that the explosion was the biggest he had ever seen and that huge flames “engulfed the area”.https://emp.bbc.com/emp/SMPj/2.36.6/iframe.htmlmedia captionSpeaking at the White House: “Another successful job, we are very proud of our military”

The US has not yet confirmed the results of the strike in detail, but a local official told the BBC that many IS militants were killed, allegedly including the brother of a senior leader.

US President Donald Trump called it “another successful job”.

EDITED FROM BBC NEWS

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