Government: 36 Islamic State fighters killed by massive bomb

The U.S. military likely chose to use the bomb, which cost about $16 million each, because the tunnel complex was in an open area where there was little danger of civilian casualties.

The Pentagon said in its statement that "US Forces took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties with this strike".

Guided by Global Positioning System, it is dropped from the cargo ramp of a C-130 transport plane with its descent slowed by parachute, meaning it can be deployed from a greater height-giving U.S. pilots more time to reach safety.

Army Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said in a written statement that the strike was created to minimize the risk to Afghan and USA forces conducting clearing operations in the Achin area "while maximizing the destruction" of IS fighters and facilities.

"This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K", he added, using the USA military's acronym for the IS affiliate. It's no longer obsolete.' . In this May 2004 photo, a plume of smoke rises over the Eglin Air Force Base reservation in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., during a test of the GBU-43B, or massive ordnance air blast (MOAB) weapon.

Trump also deflected a question on whether the use of the bomb sent a message to North Korea, a country Trump has been trying to rein in since he became president.

The bomb was delivered via an MC-130 transport plane, according to the Pentagon.

The US Air Force said the target of Thursday's bombing was a tunnel complex in Achin district in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, a hotbed of Islamic State (IS) militancy on the border with Pakistan.

It added to concerns among investors already wary of risks over Syria and North Korea, as well as the outcome of the French presidential election. "It was designed during the Iraq War as a means to penetrate destroy underground nuclear facilities", he told the Daily Star. The rocky landscape is dotted with caves and defensive tunnels, making it easy to hold and hard to attack, according to CNN International's diplomatic editor Nic Robertson, who has previously reported from the Afghan mountains.


US President Donald Trump boasted about the bombing during a press conference in Atlanta on Thursday.

He said he's given the military "total authorization", apparently referencing actions against ISIS in general, and praised the "incredible leaders" of the military. "We thought it had happened right in front of our house", he said.

'If you look at what's happened over the last eight weeks and compare that really to what's happened over the last eight years, you'll see that there's a tremendous difference, ' Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday.

The bombardment took place amid rising global tensions as the USA military steps up raids against global jihadist groups.

There are about 8,400 United States troops in Afghanistan and they regularly perform counterterrorism operations against ISIS in the Nangarhar Province.

Trump hailed the mission in Achin district as "very, very successful".

The strike hit a system of tunnels and caves that IS fighters had used to "move around freely, making it easier for them to target USA military advisers and Afghan forces" nearby, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said. A damage assessment is still being carried out.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington is "working with the government of Afghanistan and our partners in the region in order to deny any terrorist organization - that includes al Qaeda as well - a safe haven or any kind of material support on the ground".

On Tuesday, the US-led coalition in Syria killed 18 of its own allies from the Syrian Democratic Forces, in what it described as a misdirected airstrike.


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