The death toll of Islamic State (IS) militants killed when the USA military dropped a massive GBU-43 bomb or the "mother of all bombs" in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province has risen to 94, a Kabul official said on Saturday.
The U.S. military headquarters in Kabul said the bomb, sometimes referred to as "the mother of all bombs", was dropped at about 7:30 p.m. local time Thursday on a tunnel complex in Nangarhar province, where the Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State group has been operating.
"Our team is in the area and they are doing clearance, so the figure might change as they find more bodies", said Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defence.
Nicknamed "the mother of all bombs", the weapon was dropped from an MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of the eastern province of Nangarhar bordering Pakistan.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the bomb had "targeted a system of caves that Isis fighters use to move freely around, making it easier for them to target United States military advisors and Afghan forces in the area".
The bomb's destructive power, equivalent to 11 tonnes of TNT, pales in comparison with the relatively small atomic bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War Two, which had blasts equivalent to between 15,000 and 20,000 tonnes of TNT.
The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan said the decision to deploy one of the largest conventional bombs ever used in combat, which Pentagon officials described as the "mother of all bombs", was purely tactical.
The initial toll given by Afghan officials for Thursday's strike was 36.
In addition, said an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the attack also reinforces the message that US President Donald Trump has given his military commanders freer rein than did his predecessor, Barack Obama.
"This was the right weapon against the right target".
US Forces-Afghanistan Commander General John Nicholson has said that Thurday night's strike in Achin district in Nangarhar was part of their campaign to destroy ISIS in Afghanistan in 2017.
President Donald Trump said this week he would be sending his new national security adviser, Lt. Gen. HR McMaster, to Afghanistan "to find out how we can make progress alongside our Afghan partners and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies".
A U.S. special forces soldier was killed last Saturday in Nangarhar while conducting anti-ISIL operations.
The attack was aimed to curb the rising threat of ISIS-K in Afghanistan, according to the US Central Command (USCENTCOM).
But the militant group has been steadily losing ground in the face of heavy pressure both from USA air strikes and a ground offensive conducted by the Afghan military.
Former president Hamid Karzai slammed government over the move and said it had been nothing more than a weapons of mass destruction test and that it had been in violation of Afghanistan's national sovereignty.