Two senior Afghan officials have said the huge bomb launched by the United States against the so-called Islamic State killed at least 90 fighters, many more than previous estimates which said that around 30 had died. The fatalities are also said to include four top ISIL commanders.
Esmail Shinwar, the governor of the Achin district of Nangarhar, bordering Pakistan, where the 11-tonne explosive was dropped, has said that “at least 92 Daesh fighters were killed”, adding that three tunnels in which the militants had taken up position were destroyed in the attack.
The spokesman for the provincial governor, Attullah Khogyani, also spoke of “90 Daesh fighters killed”.
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Fighting has intensified over the past few weeks as Afghan forces backed by American support try to root out the Islamists.
Experts believe ISIL has installed bases close to villages and settlements, obliging thousands of families to leave the area.
A US official who monitored the recent attack which saw one of the biggest conventional bombs ever to be used in combat – said it was impossible to determine how many fighters might be buried underground.
But he said it could be “significant” because the attack came at evening prayer time, when fighters might have been concentrated in one area.
The US commander in Afghanistan said on Friday that the decision to use one of the biggest conventional bombs ever used in combat was purely tactical.