A U.S. military strike with a weapon known as the "mother of all bombs", or MOAB, killed 36 Islamic State (IS) group militants and destroyed their base, the Afghan defence ministry has said.
Afghan officials on Thursday said they were not notified in advance that US forces would be using the bomb, but said the area had always been cleared of most of its civilian residents, and that they supported using heavy firepower against the Islamic State group.
Video footage released by the U.S. shows the devastation of the blast, which appeared to leave a large crater. Apart from its lethal impact, objective of use of the bomb seemed to be spreading terror for psychological reasons, which form part of the strategy during wars.
The MOAB has been in service in the United States military since 2003, but Thursday marked the first time the bomb was used in a combat action. Citing two unidentified "intelligence officials", NBC reported that the USA has placed two Navy destroyers armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles on standby near North Korea and has prepared heavy bombers in Guam for possible attacks on the isolated nation.
The MOAB has been used once in combat, which was in the 13 April 2017 airstrike against ISIS forces in Afghanistan.
The statement said it is the responsibility of Afghans, not the USA, to remove the Islamic State group from the country.More news: 'Call of Duty' is Officially Going Back to WWII
Pakistani villagers living near the Afghan border said the explosion was so loud they thought a bomb had been dropped in their village by USA warplanes targeting terrorists in Pakistan.
The Pentagon claimed the NBC report is "extremely dangerous" and Kim Jong-un replied to the news by threatening to pulverize United States bases in Seoul if the USA military attacks the communist nation.
Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr. told reporters that the MOAB had targeted several caves that ISIS militants were using to evade coalition forces as well as an array of roadside bombs.
The U.S. military likely chose to use the bomb, which cost about $16 million each, because the tunnel complex was in an open area where there was little danger of civilian casualties.
According to the Guardian, the Afghan defense ministry announced that the huge blast killed "up to 36 suspected ISIS militants".
An Afghan resident living about a mile from where the bomb fell told CNN he heard an "extremely loud boom that smashed the windows of our house".More news: In wake of tense Trump call, Pence aims to soothe Australia
The U.S. general commanding North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan warned early February that he needs thousands more troops and accused Russian Federation of seeking to prop up the Taliban. As of now, there is no evidence of civilian casualties and no reports of civilian casualties, but an assessment of the bomb damage to the area is still ongoing.
Last year, air strikes by global forces caused at least 127 civilian deaths and 108 injuries, up from 103 deaths and 67 injuries in 2015, the United Nations said.
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai posted scathing criticism of the USA military on Twitter Thursday, calling the operation a "brutal misuse of our country as [a] testing ground for new and unsafe weapons" and calling on Afghans "to stop" the United States.
According to The National Interest magazine, despite its smaller volume, the Russian bomb is four times more powerful than its American counterpart.
Karzai said he planned to "stand against America", a stance he compared to decisions earlier in his life to fight against the Soviets and later the Taliban regime.More news: Addison Russell hits walk-off homer as Cubs top Brewers