Pentagon: No need for Trump's approval to use massive bomb
Apr 21 2017 by Larry Hoffman
The statement by the spokesperson for the governor of Nangarhar came after an Afghan Ministry of Defense official said on Friday that ongoing clearance and assessment of the bomb site in the Achin district of Nangarhar indicated that the number of dead could rise.
The initial toll given by Afghan officials for Thursday's strike was 36.
The Islamic State group's news agency Aamaq denied that the strike caused any deaths or wounded in a one-line statement put out on its social media channels, citing a "source" within the group. CNN can not independently confirm the number of casualties.
Thursday's explosion reverberated for kilometres and engulfed the remote area in towering flames, destroying what officials called a network of underground ISIS tunnels and caves that had been mined against conventional ground attacks. A 300 meter long tunnel, along with large amounts of light and heavy weapons and munition were destroyed in the bombing, the Afghan defence ministry said Friday.
The top USA military commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, had said the decision to use the bomb was purely tactical, and made as part of the campaign against IS-linked fighters. He continued, "It was the right time to use it tactically against the right target on the battlefield".
The United States, as part of its counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan, has been helping Afghan forces battle the local ISIS branch known as Islamic State-Khorasan Province since a year ago.
A similar report on Friday had quoted the Afghan officials as saying that no civilian has been harmed in the bombing.
And former president Hamid Karzai accused the American military of using his country as a weapons testing ground. President Donald Trump declined to say whether he personally signed off on the use of the GBU-43/B MOAB, known as.