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‘IS denies suffering casualties from US bomb in Afghanistan’

The US targeted a network of caves it claims were used by the Islamic State in Afghanistan for training and storing ammunition.

world Updated: Apr 15, 2017 08:17 IST
Still image taken from a video released by the US Department of Defense on April 14, 2017 shows the moment after a MOAB struck the Achin district of the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghanistan, bordering Pakistan.(Reuters)

The Islamic State group denied on Friday it had suffered casualties from the US military’s largest non-nuclear bomb which hit its mountain hideouts in Afghanistan, in a statement on its propaganda agency Amaq.

“Security source to Amaq agency denies any dead or wounded from yesterday’s American strike in Nangarhar using a GBU-43/B,” the group’s self-styled news agency said on social media accounts.

The GBU-43/B, a massive ordnance air blast bomb - dubbed the “Mother Of All Bombs” – was unleashed in combat for the first time on Thursday, hitting IS positions in eastern Nangarhar province.

The bombing is expected to further erode IS’s capabilities in Afghanistan and sends a warning to the much bigger Taliban group ahead of their annual spring offensive.

“As a result of the bombing, key Daesh (IS) hideouts were destroyed and 36 IS fighters were killed,” the Afghan defence ministry said, adding that the bombing was carried out in coordination with local military forces.

The huge bomb, delivered via an MC-130 transport plane, has a blast yield equivalent to 11 tons of TNT. It was originally designed as much to intimidate foes as to clear broad areas.

Thursday’s explosion reverberated for miles and engulfed the remote area in towering flames, destroying what officials called a network of underground IS tunnels and caves that had been mined against conventional ground attacks.

A video released by the American military showed a mushroom cloud rising over the rugged terrain.

First Published: Apr 14, 2017 21:40 IST