US Commander claims 'no evidence' of civilian casualties after MOAB strike on Isis

Oli Gamp
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US Commander John Nicholson has assured the people of Afghanistan that there was "no evidence of civilian casualties" following the MOAB strike on an Isis tunnel complex in the Nangarhar province.

The strike reportedly killed 36 Isis militants. The attack used a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb – also being dubbed as the "mother of all bombs" – meaning it was the biggest bomb non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat history.

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"This was the right weapon against the right target," said Nicholson in a joint-press conference with Afghan forces.

"I want to assure the people of Afghanistan that our forces take every possible precaution to prevent civilian casualties.

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"We had persistent surveillance over the area before and during after the operation and now we have Afghan and US forces on the site and see no evidence of civilian casualties, nor are there any reports of civilian casualties."

What is 'Isis-K'?

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province (Isis-K) is a provincial division of Isis operating in India, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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The group was formed in January 2015, from Taliban factions in Pakistan, and Afghanistan's Helmand and Farah provinces.

One civilian, giving his name as Muhammed, claimed to be at a checkpoint 1km from the blast – also noting that civilians had been cleared of the Nangarhar province since the anti-Isis operation began.

"We were eating dinner when we heard a big explosion, [I] came out of my room and saw a mountain of fire… the area was full of light with the fire of the bomb."

However, a member of parliament from the province has said he was told by locals that a teacher and his son were killed in the strike.

Nicholson added that the "animal" behaviour of Isis-K forced the hand of the US.

"[Isis] has sent suicide bombers to attack peaceful demonstrations and have killed and wounded hundreds of innocent civilians.

"They have sent suicide bombers into mosques to murder people during their prayers. Just last month they shot and stabbed hospital patients in their beds. They are animals."

"The United States is committed to Afghanistan in this fight. We are united with the Afghan government to prevent terrorists from establishing safe havens within Afghanistan."

Eyewitnesses speaking to Agence France-Presse that the blast said that around 100 Isis fighters were in the area that was bombed. They also claimed that no civilians were killed as they had left their homes because Isis members had taken them over.

Afghanistan 'mother of all bombs'

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