Government: 36 Islamic State fighters killed by massive bomb

An Afghan commando jumps in Pandola village near the site of a USA bombing in Achin district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, April 14, 2017.

PJ Crowley, the assistant secretary of state in the Obama administration, said the goal of the bomb was to create "a minor earthquake" that would collapse tunnels and caves and cause shockwaves in the immediate area.

USA forces in Afghanistan have not yet assessed the impact of a massive strike on Islamic State militants in the eastern part of the country, a military spokesman said Friday, raising questions about the already controversial decision to deploy a 22,000-pound bomb on the battlefield.

Afghanistan's Ambassador to the U.S. Hamdullah Mohib said the colossal Massive Ordinance Air Blast Bomb was dropped after fighting had intensified over the last week.

"This was the right weapon for the right target", said U.S. Gen. John W. Nicholson, NATO commander in Afghanistan, at a news conference.

Afghan officials had earlier said the bombing had killed 36 IS fighters.

In posts on Twitter, the office of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani reiterated comments by US officials, saying the raid was to support Afghan and USA forces against Islamic State in the Achin district of eastern Nangarhar province and efforts were made to minimize civilian deaths.

The 30 feet long MOAB is an improved replacement for the unguided 15,000-pound BLU-82 Daisy Cutter bomb which was widely used in previous conflicts, most notably the Vietnam War.The weapon produces a tremendous explosion which is effective against hard-target entrances, soft-to-medium surface targets, clearing tunnels and caves and anti-personnel purposes. It said they were careful to prevent any civilian casualties.

"We are escalating in an area I think we should be deescalating in", she told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. The US military previously estimated ISIS had 600 to 800 active fighters in the area but was unclear whether it had hoped to strike more.

President Ashraf Ghani threw his support behind the bombardment, saying it was "designed to support the efforts of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and U.S. forces conducting clearance operations in the region".

"If you want to destroy and eliminate Daesh, then even if you destroy my home we won't complain, because they are not human beings, they are savages", said resident Mir Alam Shinwari, using an Arabic term for the IS.

Trump called the bombing "another successful job".

"This is not the war on terror, but the inhuman and most brutal misuse of our country as testing ground for new and unsafe weapons", he said on social media network Twitter.

The number of ISIS jihadists in Afghanistan peaked at 3,000.

"I vehemently and in strongest words condemn the dropping of the latest weapon, the largest non-nuclear bomb, on Afghanistan by United States military". The bomb used in the strike is claimed to be the biggest-ever non-nuclear bomb.

Thursday's strike comes in the middle of an Afghan government-led operation to clear ISIS-K from Achin, and despite (as if the bomb's use was unexceptional) there should be little doubt the strike shows a new preference for large displays of force in US-partner-led operations in Afghanistan.

Another Afghan man, 46-year-old Abdul, who lives 3 kilometers from the site, described the thick cloud of dust that formed after the deafening blast.