US forces have maintained a perimeter to control access to the site where the bomb hit, a complex said to be a stronghold for dozens of Daesh terrorists. A witness told Reuters that there was not an observable crater made by the GBU-43 MOAB strike, and furthermore no bodies were seen at the location of the strike.
Nearby, Afghan military personnel discovered a sweeping tunnel complex accessible via an entrance within a house, just a few hundred meters from the strike target. Inside the tunnel, soldiers found doorways tall enough to walk through standing up, makeshift electrical wiring providing power to lights hanging overhead, a variety of men’s clothing apparel, and caves used for holding prisoners captive.
No prisoners were in the tunnels at the time of the strike, an Afghan official said.
On Thursday, Defense Secretary James Mattis claimed that it wouldn’t be prudent for US military officers and service members stationed in Iraq to spend too much time searching the area for casualties. “Frankly digging into tunnels to count dead bodies is probably not a good use of our troops’ time,” Mattis said.
“They are chasing down the enemy that is still capable,” he emphasized. Defense officials believe a substantial contingency of Daesh forces are buckling down to fight along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
Official estimates suggest as many as 800 Daesh loyalists roam Afghanistan, where US forces have been present for 16 years. It has easily outpaced the duration of US involvement in World War II and the span of time the US economy was strangled by the Great Depression. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was 17 and probably hadn’t even applied to Harvard when the US began its Afghanistan campaign. Today, he ranks among the world’s richest people.
On Monday, Afghanistan's defense minister resigned from his post following a deadly Taliban attack on a military outpost that killed 140 troops.
This year “is going to be another tough year for the valiant Afghan security forces and the international troops who have stood, and who continue to stand, shoulder-to-shoulder with Afghanistan against terrorism,” Mattis said.