Nearly 100 dead bodies have been pulled from Islamic State caves targeted Thursday by the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. military’s arsenal, Afghan military officials told The Wall Street Journal.
Afghan officials say the death toll is likely to increase as U.S. and Afghan Security Forces continue their damage assessment and clear the formerly held ISIS territory. The U.S. dropped the “mother of all bombs” on ISIS’s headquarters in Afghanistan after repeated efforts to expel the militants failed. No civilian casualties have been reported yet by the U.S. or Afghan military.
“This was the first time that we encountered an extensive obstacle to our progress,” top U.S. general in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson told reporters Friday. He continued, “It was the right time to use it tactically against the right target on the battlefield.”
The bomb used by the U.S. is designed to explode 6 feet before it hits the ground and collapses any underlying tunnels or caves. So far Afghan officials say “Twenty-two bodies were found in one cave, 60 in another and 10 bodies in a third.”
“The earth felt like a boat in a storm,” one villager who lived near the blast told The Guardian. He continued, “My ears were deaf for a while. My windows and doors are broken. There are cracks in the walls.” Achin’s Mayor Naweed Shinwari said, “my relatives thought the end of the world had come.”
“Last night’s bomb was really huge, when it dropped, everywhere, it was shaking,” one resident told Reuters. He characterized the strike as a “positive move” to rid the village of ISIS fighters. One man who lived two miles from the blast area told CNN “we were all scared and my children and my wife were crying. We thought it had happened right in front of our house.”
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