The attack on a tunnel complex in remote eastern Afghanistan with the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the U.S. military left 36 Islamic State militants dead and no civilian casualties, Afghanistan officials said Friday.
The attack was carried out in a remote mountainous area of Nangarhar province near the Pakistan border where there had been heavy fighting in recent weeks between Afghan forces and IS militants. The Ministry of Defense said in a statement that several IS caves and ammunition caches were destroyed by the giant bomb, which terrified villagers on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with its "earsplitting blast."
The U.S. maintains over 8,000 troops in Afghanistan, training local forces and conducting counterterrorism operations. Over the past year they have largely concentrated on thwarting a surge of attacks by the Taliban, who have captured key districts, such as the Helmand province, which American and British troops had fought bitterly to return to the government.