According to an exclusive report by CNN, the US military has dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan today at 7:32 PM local time.
The Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), nicknamed "mother of all bombs," was reportedly targeted at ISIS tunnels in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province.
This is the first time the 9500kg MOAB has been used in battle.
United States drops biggest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan
15 Apr 2017
90 IS rebels killed by US' "Mother of All Bombs"
The number of IS rebels killed in Afghanistan by US' "Mother of All Bombs" has tripled to at least 90 within hours.
Achin district governor Esmail Shinwari put the toll at 92, while Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani claimed 90 deaths.
There were "no military and civilian casualties at all"; thousands of locals had fled earlier due to the fighting.
19 Apr 2017
Afghanistan: 13 Indian ISIS fighters killed by MOAB
Among the dead commanders were two Indian ISIS commanders as well. They were identified by authorities as Mohammad and Allah Gupta.
However, officials from Afghanistan's foreign ministry have been unable to confirm details of the reports.
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US' top general in Afghanistan sanctions bombing
Gen. John Nicholson sanctioned the use of the bomb for this mission, according to reports. Nicholson is the commander of US forces in Afghanistan. Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of US Central Command, granted Nicholson the authority to deploy the MOAB.
Trump calls MOAB use "another successful job" by US military
US President Donald Trump said he's "very proud of" the US military for dropping the MOAB in Afghanistan.
He described the operation as "another successful job."
He declined to say whether he personally authorized the MOAB's use.
"Everybody knows exactly what happens. So, what I do is I authorize our military," Trump said. "We have given them total authorization and that's what they're doing."
US' MOAB strike "took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties"
"US forces took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties with this strike. US Forces will continue offensive operations until ISIS-K is destroyed in Afghanistan," a US military statement said. The full extent of the damage, including casualties, caused remains unclear. A military assessment is ongoing.
Why was the MOAB used?
Fighting had intensified last week between US Special Forces and Afghan troops against ISIS near the area where MOAB was dropped.
"As ISIS-K's losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defence," Gen. Nicholson said.
As compared to other precision guided weapons, the pressure from MOAB's large blast area will likely detonate several explosive devices.
ISIS in Afghanistan
ISIS' presence and influence in Afghanistan growing
ISIS first emerged in Afghanistan in 2015 and its popularity is growing as it pays more than the Taliban.
A US official said there are around 600 to 800 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan.
The US military believes ISIS has emerged from former members of the Pakistani Taliban and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
The Taliban fiercely opposes ISIS and has clashed with it.
Russia's "Father of All Bombs" 4-times more powerful than MOAB
In 2007, Russia tested the Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power, nicknamed the "Father of All Bombs" (FOAB).
The US' MOAB produces a blast yield of 11 tons of TNT from 8 tons of high explosive.
Russia's FOAB is reportedly four times more powerful with a blast yield of nearly 44 tons of TNT, making it the world's largest non-nuclear weapon.
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