Questions for US military after doubt cast on efficiency of Afghan bombing

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Fresh analysis hints mom of all bombs induced much less damage than was originally reported elevating questions over why it was dropped in the first place

After dropping its largest conventional bomb ever being implemented in combat in Afghanistan on 13 April, the US military said the massive ordnance breath blast, or Moab, was a very clear message to Isis that they would be annihilated.

Defence secretary Jim Mattis said the bomb was necessary to break Isis. The Afghan government claimed the bomb killed 94 Isis activists, while harming no civilians.

But a brand-new investigation by independent analysts casts doubt on the efficiency of the bomb, hinting it inflicted much less damage than initially reported and elevating questions again over why the bomb was dropped.

Using satellite imagery, ground footage and 3D visualisation, Alcis, an institute for geographical analysis, surveyed the targeted region in Nangarhar province.

It met 38 houses and 69 trees destroyed within a 150 -metre radius, challenging statements from neighbourhoods who told reporters the bomb had shattered houses up to two miles away.

The imagery likewise shows no 300 -metre crater, as had been expected prior to the strike. Alcis believes damage done further away are attributable to ground fighting.

Alcis was also sceptical of the Afghan governments assessment that the bomb killed 94 Isis activists. Im careened by that, mentioned Richard Brittan, the institutes managing board. I simply dont understand where they can get that amount from.

Government officials say they have drawn 94 Isis corpses out of the targeted passageways.

Meanwhile, as the Guardian reported on a visit to Asadhkel village, 650 metres from the bomb site, other officials grumbled that the US military restricted or denied them access to the bomb site, where fighting continues.

The US has yet to put out a casualty appraisal. The US military spokesman in Kabul, Capt William Salvin, has not been able to comment on the Afghan amounts but mentioned: We have not been able to go in and do that evaluation, and were probably not going to.

He said it was too dangerous and that the military forces had better things to do with our time.

Alcis called the claim of no civilian casualties anomalous. The strike happened less than a month before reap. Although many farmers had fled earlier to fight against the hollow, many would have returned to camp out near their harvests, Brittan said.

Its the only place to be if you want to tend to those realms, he mentioned. It is entirely possible that working-age male farmers could be counted as militants.

Salvin said he was confident there had been no civilian casualties because the US had conducted lingering surveillance over the site for over a few weeks before the strike.

People are not shy about reporting civilian casualties in the country. And there have been no these reports, he said.

The analysis once again raises the question why the Moab was applied. In Afghanistan, Isis constitutes a minor military menace in comparison with the Taliban. There has been speculation that the US wanted to send a signal to other abilities in the region, but Salvin insisted the Moab was used for a specific tactical intent on the battlefield.

Brittan, meanwhile, said that argument merely built appreciation if the US wanted to deploy Moabs on hundreds of similar settlements in the targeted Mahmand valley, which would put years of development work at risk.

If their approaching is that they are going to grade this hollow with all its settlements, then Moabs galore, he mentioned. But get people back to making a living off the land is what youve got to focus on.

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