Mother of all BS department.
General Daulat Waziri, of the Afghanistan Ministry of Defence, said 36 IS fighters were killed by the U.S. attack in a remote area of Nangarhar using the GBU-43B, or massive ordnance air blast weapon, which contains 11 tons of high explosives. (It is not clear how an Afghan general knows the death toll from this event.)
U.S. General John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, calls the targeted militants “animals.” They are said to belong to the so-called ISIS-K, or Khorasan group, which is a provincial organization using the IS brand in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Peter Beaumont, in The Guardian, notes that using the $16 million device to kill 36 people (or animals) amounts to $450,000 per individual. Note that these were lightly armed guerillas.
Although there are no reports of non-combatant deaths from the attack, civilian property was damaged.
Some observers, however, questioned the necessity of deploying a weapon of that scale against a group whose estimated 600 to 800 fighters pose only a limited threat to the Afghan state. “There is no doubt that Isis are brutal and that they have committed atrocities against our people. But I don’t see why the bomb was dropped,” said the mayor of Achin, Naweed Shinwari. “It terrorised our people. My relatives thought the end of the world had come. Every day fighter jets, helicopters and drones are in the area.”
The US had sustained an air campaign to eradicate Isis in eastern Afghanistan for more than a year, and according to Borhan Osman, an Isis expert with the Afghanistan Analysts Network, it had already been effective. “Isis was on the brink of losing their stronghold. It didn’t seem like there was a need for such a dramatic military measure,” he said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has declined an invitation to talks in Moscow to facilitate the peace process between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
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