At least 36 alleged members of the so-called Islamic State were killed on Thursday after the United States dropped its biggest non-nuclear device on a target location in Achin district, in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, close to the Pakistan border. The Pentagon added that there had been no civilian casualties.
Amaq, a news agency affiliated with Islamic State, carried a statement on Friday denying that the group had suffered casualties in the attack, Reuters said. However, the news agency was quick to add that the statement remained unverified.
Nicknamed “the mother of all bombs,” the weapon was dropped from an MC-130 aircraft. This the first real-world deployment of the bomb since a test in 2003 when it produced a mushroom cloud visible from 32km away.
Residents of Achin district — at a village called Moman — described the impact of the 9,000-kilo bomb as severe. “My ears were deaf for a while. My windows and doors are broken. There are cracks in the walls and the earth felt like a boat in a storm,” Mohammad Shahzadah, a resident, was quoted as saying by The Guardian. Nearly 11,000 kilometres from Kabul, US President Donald Trump in Washington hailed the bomb. He called it “another very, very successful mission”.
Experts, however, are questioning the timing and even the need for such a device in the West Asian theatre. The Guardian noted the extreme financial cost of the operation claiming that the MOAB — each costing $16m — was able to kill just about “three dozen ISIS members at a cost of almost $4,50,000 per individual”.
Others said the bomb was a waste of time because the ISIS had had little success in Afghanistan, where it has been trying to gain foothold. The Tali-ban, instead, are far more powerful but remain embedded in civilian areas.Wisdom from ground zero echo condemnation of the bomb. “I don’t see why the bomb was dropped. It terrorised our people,” mayor of Achin, Naweed Shinwari, was quoted as saying by The Guardian....